Advertising
Advertising

Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps

Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps
Verbal bully
    Verbal Bully

    If bullies were actually like Nelson from the Simpsons, they would be easy to avoid.  Unfortunately, most of the verbal abuse you will ever experience in life will come from co-workers, friends, or family.  The people you like or love are often the worst offenders, whether they meant to or not.  Even worse, most of the verbal attacks will not be obvious or cutting, but instead, they will be subtle and sarcastic.  Individually, small verbal stings may not feel painful, but over time, these stings can take a toll on your confidence, stress levels, and relationships.

    You won’t have time to analyze the attack and think about how to defend against it.  That’s why it is important to have a response ready for any type of attack in any situation.  The following two steps will show you how:

     

     

     

     

    Step 1: Remove Yourself from the Role of a Victim

    You may be confronted with a snide remark such as, “Are you always this absent-minded?”

    Advertising

    How would you respond?  Would you become defensive and say, “I am not absent-minded!”?

    Many of us would be caught in the moment and become defensive.  Some of us would freeze and say nothing.  But the last thing you want to do is respond directly to their attack and give them the response they were looking for.

    Your best initial move is to remove yourself from the position of the “victim.”  Place yourself above the attack.  Act like it doesn’t bother you.  Step outside of the attack altogether and comment about the content of the attack itself (this is sometimes referred to as Meta-Talk). Talk about what they said or how they said it.

    Let’s take a closer look at some example defenses:

    “Stupid? Is that the best adjective you could come up with?”

    “Wow, that was so clever…how do you keep coming up with such great jokes?” (sarcasm)

    “That sounded like it was meant to insult me…”

    Advertising

    “The way you said that was kind of child-ish, did you mean to say it like that?”

    “Absent-minded?  That’s a strong choice of words wouldn’t you say?”

    “Wow, you sound so bitter…maybe you should go take a break for a minute.”

    “You’re still hung up on pointing out my flaws, let’s try to move away from that and get down to the real issue.”

    These defenses accomplish four primary objectives:

    • It demonstrates to the attacker (and the audience), that the attack did not bother you
    • It implies that you do not place much value on what the attacker says
    • It implies that future attacks will not affect you either
    • In case the attacker did not mean to attack you, this defense makes them aware that they crossed over the line

    By vocally analyzing and dismantling their phrase or their delivery, you can take away its power and place yourself above the role of a “victim.” If you step outside the attack, it becomes impossible to be hit by the attack itself.   In fact, not only are you avoiding the attack, but this type of defense can simultaneously mock the attacker at the same time.

    If you’re faced with a relentless bully, you may want to add Step Two to your arsenal.  Not only do you want to avoid their stings, but you want to make them think twice about attacking you again in the future.

    Advertising

    Step 2: Place the Target Back On the Attacker

    After you dodge the bullet, your next order of business is to shift the focus back on to your attacker.  Not much good ever comes from keeping the focus on yourself when a verbal war is being waged.

    An easy way to place the target back on the attacker is by exposing their intentions.  You may be poor at comebacks and witty repartees, but that’s the beauty of questioning the attacker’s intentions – everyone has an intention.  You don’t need to know some special information or come up with a clever remark in order to complete this type of defense.

    A bully may state, “You’re always so defensive.”

    A poor conversationalist would take the bait and respond, “No I’m not!”

    Instead, expose the source with one of these lines: 

    “Were you trying to be funny just then?  I wasn’t sure…”

    “Why are you trying so hard to point that out?  Do you need attention?”

    Advertising

    “Are you trying to make me act defensive? Because it’s not going to work.”

    “Are you obsessed with ________?  Can’t you think of something else?”

    “Do you really think you can persuade me to ______?”

    “Do you always side with ______?”

    “Are you always this angry?”

    “Oh, you’re trying to be funny now, huh?”

    “You think you’re pretty clever don’t you?”

    These verbal defenses can easily throw your attacker off balance.  When you question someone’s intentions in this manner, it can be very hard to come up with a good response.  And if they do manage a successful response, you can go back to Step 1 and make a comment about it!

    It’s important to note that the two tips will be rendered useless if you become defensive or over-react.  Thomas Jefferson wisely said, “Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”  That is still true today.  The person who seems to maintain their composure always has the edge.  If you can remain cool, calm, and collected during a verbal battle, you will always have the upper hand.

    More by this author

    The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 1 of 2 The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 2 Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps Don’t Let These 4 Habits Ruin Your Conversations Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate

    Trending in Communication

    1 Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships 2 How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life 3 7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 4 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding 5 The Real Causes of Lack of Energy That Go Beyond Your Physical Health

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

    Advertising

    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

    Advertising

    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

    Advertising

    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

    Advertising

    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

    Read Next