Good afternoon. Doug Lynch here with a Tactical Communication tip.

Tactical Communication teaches various techniques for deflecting personal attacks and moving beyond. But, what if someone is attacking your organization or a member of it, but is being nice to you?

It could be a difficult person just letting words fly out. But, it could be a sneaky person that is trying to divide and conquer. Always look for the meaning behind the words. Let me explain.


Dangerous words

As a police officer, I might get this sort of statement from a person. “You are ok but that Chief of yours is a real jerk.”

When I hear this, warning bells go off in my head and I become cautious that someone may try and trap me with my words. I need to use a deflector but I have to be careful which one.

If I use something similar to “I hear that but let’s move on” that statement can come back to haunt me. Later, they will twist that statement by telling the mayor that I agree with them that my Chief is a jerk.

When that part comes to my attention later, I will accurately explain what happened. But, before I become aware this statement is made, a lot of damage can be done.

That damage will be difficult if not impossible to correct.


Thinking tactically about your response

That damage could give the person ground to stand on. It is possible to deflect for yourself and protect against the damage with statements such as:

  • “That is between you and the Chief. But, right now, I am here to help you with this.”
  • “You’re entitled to your opinion and I respect that, can we move on?”
  • “Let’s talk about that later, for now, let me help you with this situation.”

I hope this is a technique that helps you improve your active listening skills and in turn makes you better at thinking tactically about how to handle situations that could come back to haunt you later.