Typical, Terrible Influence Strategies

Aug 07, 2023
Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.com

Unfortunately, we have terrible role models when it comes to communication. Our parents, teachers, the media, politicians, and just about everyone around us model destructive communication habits.

Rather than connect us, most of the language we use drives us further apart.

In Nonviolent Communication (one of my favorite books), Dr. Marshall Rosenberg explains how our alienating language can lead people (who want connection) toward violence and withdrawal.

Here’s what he calls “alienating language,” and what I call “Typical, Terrible Influence Strategies:”

  • Moralistic Judgments (who is what): She’s lazy; He is privileged.
  • Comparisons: She’s prettier, They are luckier.
  • Denial of Responsibility: You make me so angry! It is company policy.
  • Demands: Clean this up now!
  • Meriting reward or punishment: He deserves to be shot. She only got the promotion because she’s a minority woman.
  • Labels: He is a terrible leader. Latinos are very hard-working, and Asians are good at math.
  • Hidden Agendas: I’m good, I’m good but you’re not, You’re good but I’m not, I’m helpless, I suffer, I’m blameless, I’m fragile, I’m tough, I know it all.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, so be aware when your words separate, rather than connect.


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