Friday, July 15, 2011

If You Communicate - Read Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J Thompson

"Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion" by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins is an outstanding little book that everyone should read. Why do I say everyone? Because everyone communicates with others, and this book will help you become a more effective communicator. It really is that good. The advice is simple, but profound and will enable the person who puts it to practice to listen better and be heard, learn what not to say, engage people through empathy, stop verbal attacks in their tracks, and much more. In fact, there is more practical advice in this one book than in some of my communication classes in college that I paid much more for.

The book is 222 pages long, and is divided into 27 short chapters. Its size is due to the fact that Thompson does not spend any time theorizing or describing complicated communication models, but rather provides simple direct methods for communicating with people, with concrete examples that can be adapted and used by anyone. The lessons in this book have been honed on the streets by police officers, which Thompson is one, as they deal with some of the most unruly public. Thompson believes if the officers involved with the Rodney King incident had taken his course before that unfortunate event, things would have gone much differently. I believe he's right. (The officers were actually scheduled to take Thompson's Verbal Judo class shortly after the incident, if only it had been scheduled earlier.)

In a nutshell, Thompson teaches you to treat people with dignity and respect. He teaches how to develop and maintain relationships rather than break them down and destroy them. The book shows you how to communicate with other effectively. This not only helps reduce conflict, but allows you to be influential with others, gain more from people, have better relationships, and generally be happier with all of your interactions with others.

I read this book a long time ago, and just recently read it again for a refresher. I'll admit, sometimes I fall short of practicing what Thompson teaches, and it does make me feel a bit better to know that Thompson says he's fallen short many times too. I do, however, try to use these techniques and strategies in my dealings with people, and this book has influenced my mediation style as well as the teaching and training I do on mediation and effective communication.

This book will help you, regardless your occupation, sex, age, or whatever. If you communicate with others, read this book to do it better.

Alain Burrese, J.D. is a writer, speaker, and mediator who teaches how to live, take action, and get things done through the Warrior's Edge. He is an expert on conflict and mediates and teaches conflict resolution and negotiation. Additionally, he teaches physical conflict skills in his Hapkido and Self-Defense courses, lectures, and seminars. Alain is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From The School Of Hard Knocks, the DVDs Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, the Lock On Joint Locking series, and numerous articles and reviews. You can read more articles and reviews and see clips of his DVDs as well as much more at and

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