My Post Created a Problem: What I Did and What I Should Have Done

Yesterday, I posted something on a popular Conservative website that invoked a very strong negative response. The more I posted, the worse it got. This was a learning experience for me and I would like to share what happened with others so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.

In the discussion, I will use My Post for what I posted to the forum and Response to indicate the response to my post from someone else.  This is not word for word, but an approximation of the posts.

My Post: I think it would be great if many of us sent condolences cards to the families of the five people who died from the violence at the Capitol.

Response: “one woman was shot by Capitol security and the other 3 died of natural causes. The security officer died from a stroke and it wasn’t caused by an injury.”

My 2nd Post: Don’t let hate get in the way of doing the right thing.

So what did I do wrong so far:

  • I didn’t lay the groundwork for my initial post. I didn’t explain the reasons why I thought it was a good idea. I didn’t stop to think what other’s objections might be and address them in my initial post.
  • My 2nd post was totally out of line. I assumed that hate was the problem, when hate was not used by the other person. I felt I needed to defend my original post as a good idea and that they just hadn’t realized it yet. My response was combative.
  • As soon as I saw the initial push-back, I should have decided what I wanted from the post. Did I want to try to win, did I just want to float an idea, did I want to persuade people to my point of view, what was the likelihood I could persuade people and was it worth the time and effort, etc?
  • The best thing would have been for me to walk away from the thread and let it die. If some people thought it was a good idea, fine, but arguing wasn’t going to persuade anyone.

My 3rd Post: My understanding is the unarmed woman was shot by a Capitol security officer, one man died from a heart attack, one died from a stroke, and the other woman was crushed by the crowd. The Security Officer, according to reports, was injured by being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher and later died from a stroke caused by the injury.

Responses: What’s your source? Three of them died of natural causes, the security officer didn’t get hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. You must be a troll. You think like a Democrat.

My 4th Post: Would the 3 people that died of natural causes have died if they didn’t attend the Trump protest?  There is video of a security officer being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher and according to reports, that was the officer who later died of a stroke from the injury. That Officer also happened to be a Trump supporter.

What did I do wrong this time?

  • At this point, I was getting very frustrated. I had looked everything up just before posting to make sure what I had learned on the prior days was still the most current status. I felt like I was arguing with several people that appeared to believe every conspiratorial report out there.
  • But I argued with them anyway. There was no attempt on either side to make sure we got to the truth. There was my truth and there was their truth. There was no attempt to find common ground.

This went on for over 50 posts and responses. It doesn’t serve any purpose to post any more of the back and forth – it was just more of the same.

Lessons Learned

I just read “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it” by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. The book teaches the psychological methods the FBI uses to free hostages. These methods also apply to business and personal negotiations.

I didn’t follow a single tactic taught in the book. I violated every one of them. Here are a few examples.

Example 1: My 2nd Post: Don’t let hate get in the way of doing the right thing.

  • I used the wrong tone and the wrong words.
  • I mislabeled the emotion involved and used it in the wrong way. I should have written something like”
  • It seems you are very angry. Is that right?
  • I acknowledge the emotion without being accusatory. I invited the other person to respond and give me more information about their objection. If I had mislabeled their emotion, they had the opportunity to correct me and label the emotion themselves.

Example 2: Now that the emotion has been labeled and agreed to by the other person, I can continue at diffusing the emotion.

  • I already used labeling which is the 1st step in addressing emotional obstacles.
  • My response didn’t use the word I and it disrupted the emotion.
  • I phrased it as a question so the other person responds by either saying “That’s Right” or labels the emotion.
  • If they labeled the emotion as feeling threatened, I would repeat the question like this:

Is it right then to say that you are feeling threatened by everything that has happened?

  • What I am doing is making sure we get the right label on the emotion and then trying to diffuse it.
  • This also creates empathy and shows the other person I care about what they think and feel.

Example 3: My 3rd Post: My understanding is the unarmed woman was shot by a Capitol security officer, one man died from a heart attack, one died from a stroke, and the other woman was crushed by the crowd. The Security Officer, according to reports, was injured by being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher and later died from a stroke caused by the injury.

  • I hadn’t got emotion out of the way.
  • I hadn’t established rapport.
  • I hadn’t reduced the threat.
  • I hadn’t imagined the question from the point of view of the other person
  • I didn’t show any appreciation or understanding to the other person

Conclusion

Now more than ever, we need to bring people over to our side. We have no choice but to suffer through 2 years of Democrat controlled government. To change that in 2022, we need so many people on our side that there can be no question about who won. Of course we also need to be working at the state and local level to ensure election reform is implemented.

We all have tried to win an argument with a liberal and almost always failed. I think that if we use the tactics in this book, we can be much more successful.

We can also use these tactics in our posts, in Parler or Gab, with our families, within our businesses, anywhere you communicate with someone else. The objective of the book is how to overcome obstacles the other person has that prevents them from reaching a satisfactory negotiated agreement (in your favor).

I encourage everyone to read this book. It is a fairly quick read and has some good real life stories.

“Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it” by Chris Voss

 

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