OVERCOME CONVERSATION POWER
5 Steps to Success
© 2005 Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.
You know how frustrated you feel when you're in a one-sided
conversation, you have something important to say, and you just
can't seem to get through.
In a conversation power play, it is assumed that if someone can
successfully avoid responding to you, he or she wins. You are
supposed to fold your tent and silently steal away -- or the
modern equivalent, just shut up and listen and act as if the most
powerful person in control.
If you stay quiet, you agree and she wins.
But...You don't have to be a loser. Instead of just fantasying
violence or giving up in disgust, use these steps.
1. Repeat yourself. Yes, the first step is that simple, just
repeat the words that were ignored before.
If you don't get a response...
2. Answer whatever they have said, briefly. Then immediately say,
"And I just said..." and repeat yourself again.
If he doesn't respond yet and goes on with his original point...
3. Feedback what they have just said using these words, "I
understand that you (want, believe, intend) to (repeat his point).
What I don't understand is how that relates to ...." Now
repeat your original point again.
Still no response?
4. Up the pressure again by commenting on the conversation,
"I have said this 3 times, and you are acting as if you have
not heard me at all."
Now, depending on your objective, you have more choices. Here are
5a. If your objective is to get co-operation, say this. I need
your view (or response to what I told you) in order to help you
accomplish (a mutual objective)."
5b. If you want to defuse the situation and allow him to save face
while you de-escalate the power struggle, you can assume the blame
for the uncomfortable conversation. "I'm sorry, I must not
have communicated clearly about...."
Frequently a power play will be stopped at step one or two. You
can go to step 5 a or b, at any time, in order to refocus the