Verbal Judo

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The essence of Verbal Judo is best defined as a gentle yet powerful way of persuasion that helps us to avoid, resolve and manage resistance by using presence and words.

Jerry B. Jenkins, has 21 New York Times best selling books and is the writer of Verbal Judo. He joins the Crown Refs Podcast to discuss how this communication system best applies to the craft of officiating. 

1. THE ART OF VERBAL JUDO

As instructed and told by JERRY JENKINS (NY Times Best-Selling Author)

a. Judo is unarmed combat that uses leverage to unbalance your opponent

b. Verbal judo uses words to gain leverage in the conversation

c. Deescalate from anger to rationality

d. We want to give a soft answer

e. “Tell me about what has you upset & how we can fix it?”

2. OFFICIALS

a. Coaches give you crap, don’t lower yourself to HC level

b. Answer angry HC w/ civility & respect

c. Goal is to deescalate

d. If there is Head coach & Official arguing, the calmest is the one who gets the respect

e. Never respond in-kind

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3. THINGS NEVER TO SAY

a. Calm down

b. That’s enough (Unless you’ve really had enough)

c. Come here — invite, don’t command

d. b/c those are the rules

e. none of your business

f. what do you want me to do about it

g. whats your problem

h. im doing this for your own good

i. I’m not going to say this sagain

j. be reasionable

4. SAY

a. What can I do to help this situation right now?

b. What can I do right now to make this problem go away?

c. I hear you

d. I understand

e. I don’t want to run you, anymore than you want to be run, so work with me & don’t force me to do it

5. EMPATHY

a. Have understanding where the other person is coming from

b. See the problem through heir eyes

c. Put yourself in their shoes

d. They are not happy & need to blame someone

e. Repeat what they say back to you

6. HOW TO ABSORB THE CRITICISM?

a. Need to de-escalate the anger

b. Explaining the rules doesn’t necessarily de-escalate the situation

c. People want to know why they need to do something & why it is good for them

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7. AUTOMATIC RESPONSES

a. Need to diagnose what is the problem

b. Body language, tone of voice, red face, heavy breathing

c. Assess the level & determine how to bring it down a level

8. 3 TYPES OF PEOPLE

a. Nice

b. Difficult

c. Wimp — pretend to be nice, but really backstabber

9. EGO

a. The more ego you display, the less power you have

b. The opposite of ego is humility

c. 3 communication arts

1. Representation — get ego out of way — represent the fraternity of refs

2. Translation — put words in best way, avoid misunderstanding — know what you are talking about, use code words, send message effectivity using correct body language,

3. Mediation — make peace, allowing others to see things in new ways — give reason to others to persuade them to act appropriately

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10. BEST WAY TO STOP LISTENING

a. Best way to interrupt & insist you are correct

b. Let me understand what you are saying, “you think we are intentionally calling fouls against your team because you think we want the other team to win. Is that right?”

c. They are listening now b/c you summarized what you said

d. They want to be heard

e. Empathize with them, and let them know you are trying to call a fair game

f. Do not match the anger of the coach — you lose authority when you respond with anger

g. Control the situation rather than let the situation control you

#73 ALEX BROMLEY ​​

(NJ detective & Verbal Judo Instructor)

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11. WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

a. Get voluntary compliance & collaboration (work together)

12. PROFESSIONAL FACE

a. Put on your professional face

b. Do not take verbal assaults as a personal attack

c. Respond professionally & in a disinterested manner

d. You are interested but don’t have dog in the fight

e. Put on your “referee costume”

f. Don’t show your personal face & don’t let your emotions show

g. Automatic & natural responses are usually ones that you will regret

13. OPTIONS

a. Don’t tell people what they must do

b. Give them options

c. Treat people w/ dignity & respect

d. People would rather be asked than told

e. Ask them to do what you want in the question

f. Must ask them w/ empathy & how its in their best interests

g. Try to get them to cooperate by giving them options in their best interests

h. Give options rather than threaten

i. Give options in a way that shows trying to work together

14. WHY?

a. People want to know why they need to do something

b. Want to know why you called foul on them

c. Huge way to decrease confrontation

d. So, “It’s a “Race to the Why?”

e. It is the ultimate sign of respect & professionalism

f. Never say, “Because it is the rule”

g. If there is a reason, tell them why.

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15. 2ND CHANCE

a. All people want a 2nd chance

b. They all want to continue with their goal

c. Find a way to go in a positive direction

d. Ex. Admit that you missed call

16. WHAT NOT TO SAY

a. You expect the HC & players to accept responsibility for their mistakes

b. Referees also need to be accountable for your actions

c. Because that is the rule. That is the way it is. The league wants us to enforce it.

d. What do you want me to do about it?

e. It is not my call

17. WHAT TO SAY

a. Accept responsibility for your mistake

b. It was bad call. My mistake.

c. If you give weak admission of mistake, they still will think negative

d. If you are professional in your admission, you could avoid conflict

18. MISTAKES

a. You will never be perfect

b. The only time we come up is when we make mistakes

c. Our mistakes are highlighted on ESPN, Fans, tv, news

d. You must enter game knowing you are the scapegoat

e. You are vulnerable — you are easiest to blame

19. STRIP PHRASES

a. Avoid your natural reaction / blowup to defend / yell back

b. Do not ignore the coach

c. Think about your goal

d. Use strip phrases (deflection techniques)

1. “You are the worst ref”

2. I hear you, I appreciate what you are saying, BUT our goal is to get the game going & penalties assessed, so I need you to move back to the coaching box

e. Anything before the “BUT” addresses the verbal attack

f. After the “BUT” is what your goal is & what he needs to do to keep going to your goal

g. It can be a fun game of what you say as a deflection & redirect

h. Strip phrase can be used to show empathy

i. We don’t have to agree w/ person to give empathy, we just need to see it from their respective

j. “I can understand that you are upset on that bang-bang play, BUT……”

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20. WHOA! WHOA!

a. Paraphrase what is said to you

b. Be professional interrupring them & keep respect

c. How?

d. Insert yourself — “whoa,” “hold on 1 sec,” “let me maje sure what you just said

e. Key is to actually listen so you know what they said

f. No one will listen more than a person who is listening to their own words

g. They want you to understand them

h. What you’re saying is the fouls are 4–0 because we are intentionally calling fouls on your team to help the other team?

i. It gives the person a chance to modify what you said — angry people don’t say what they mean. It gives them a chance to save face as well

j. You are taking back control of the situation

k. Presence — Come across as being disinterested, not uninterested

21. WHAT THEY HEAR?

a. What you say / Content ​​​​10%

b. Body language, how you deliver it/ style ​​55%

c. Way you say it — tone, pitch, moderation, voice ​35%

d. So how you say something is more important than what you say

e. How you appear — how you speak is important

22. DRAWING THE LINE

a. What do you do when words fail?

b. What do you do when a person crosses the line?

c. When our security is threatened — contact official, physical

d. If the person is walking asway from you, not paying attention to your explanation

e. Avoid repetition — “I’m not going to say this again.”

f. Revise your priorities when words fail

g. Must move on when words fail

h. After words fail, take action — technical foul, ejection

Learn More about Verbal Judo HERE!

Listen to the full episode HERE!

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