Verbal Manipulation

I was speaking to someone in a position of authority the other day, and he said, “Wouldn’t you agree that…” and then he went on to push his poorly thought out agenda for policy change. So I responded, “Actually, no, I don’t agree. And here’s why.”

He wasn’t expecting that. You could see it in his eyes. But I don’t like to be manipulated. It’s just another form of bullying as far as I’m concerned. And when your weapon of choice is words, well, you’ve met your match.

I especially hate verbal manipulation in the customer service realm. For example, for a while there AT&T employees were forced to end all phone conversations by saying, “Thank you for being the best part of AT&T.” Seriously?

First of all, you can say that all day long, but that doesn’t erase the fact that you provide, arguably, the worst customer service of any company on the face of the earth. Forcing your employees to say that does not convince us otherwise, and it certainly does not convince your employees that their jobs aren’t detestable nightmares. What it does do is make your organization look even less sincere than it already is.

I know that there is something to be said for putting a positive spin on things, but there’s also something to be said for not taking it too far. Sure, it may be good on some level to call “problems” “challenges”, but the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t a challenge. It was a freakin’ disaster of epic proportions. There’s no spinning that.

A big pet peeve of mine is the phrase, “We should…” Don’t should me. You aren’t me. You can’t make decisions for me. You don’t have the power to establish rules for me.

And don’t even get me started on “If you loved me, you’d…” That kind of talk makes me run for the nearest exit. I’d be tempted to not even say good-bye on the way out.

I prefer straight shooters. Tell me what you want or need, and why, and let me form my own opinions and make my own choices. How hard is that?

And what happens if I don’t bring you coffee?

6 thoughts on “Verbal Manipulation

  1. I had a crazy one eyed boss who would come screaming into the office every day shouting “WE NEED TO…..” and every time my friend Monica would scream back I don’t NEED to anything but breathe!!!” and I would sit and watch it all sipping coffee 🙂

  2. Elaine Lorefield

    one of the reasons I worked night shift on weekends for sooo many years.. the least contact with administrators and their :need to” talk!

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