Acting sovereignly in discussions and interviews: Ready to play in front of an audience


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Text comes from: Schlagfertigkeit (2015) from Dr. Matthias Nöllke, published by Haufe Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Recklessness in front of an audience can be trained. Learn what makes you likable and what you better avoid, how to respond to catch questions and reject allegations.

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Dr. Matthias Nöllke Matthias NöllkeDr. Matthias Nöllke is SPIEGEL-Best-selling author and works for Bavarian Radio.

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Are you allowed to interfere with the other?

Accomplishment lives from reacting directly to an attack. In a discussion with the audience, however, it is often the case that each person delivers his or her speech and the other person has to remain silent. He then has the opportunity to comment on the accusations, attacks, claims.

This tacit agreement has something for everyone, everyone should be allowed to spread his arguments unmolested, that's only fair, and yet there are two possible disadvantages for you:

  1. Before you speak, it's about something else. No one really knows what you're referring to now. You seem like someone who lags behind the discussion and wants to turn back the wheel - that does not suit well.
  2. A repetitive response comes from the fact that she gets out of the situation. Each delay reduces its effectiveness. If you wait for it to be your turn, you can make your remark the same.

Be sparing with interruptions

So what if you got a quick reply in the Sense comes while the other is speaking? Can you just interrupt? They may. However, only if your remark is really catchy. Because you have to weigh whether the thing is worth it. If you land a direct hit, nobody will ask you if it was your turn at all.

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On the other hand, you are undoubtedly breaking the unwritten rules. So if your comment is not so sparkling, then score an own goal. On top of that, you can no longer complain if your counterpart now interrupts you. Some "old hands" know how to use such errors in a masterly manner.

Even if you always come up with repetitive replies, leave it in one or two interruptions. Otherwise, you will not be ready to hit, but will be stingy and obtrusive. At all, you must be careful not to push the other one too much against the wall.

Beware of the “Niedermachern”

In discussions, we want one thing above all: one's own arguments should be brilliant, the arguments of the opponent of the discourse, on the other hand, are to be made manifest in their entire gaps. This, of course, makes us very happy when the other knowledge gap is revealed, cramped, helpless or right-handed.

Finally, we collect points. It is, of course, triumphal, if you catch the other with a self-contradiction, and indeed one that your listeners also understand. Then you almost won.

Almost because you are well advised to be careful. Above all, beware of so-called “humankinders”, comments that your counterpart will completely “take care of”. Such “humankinders” can easily fall back on yourself. Even if your counterparty is discredited once and for all, you may not benefit from it in any way. On the contrary, the audience resents your behavior. Your opponent finds it impossible, but so does you.

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Never go to the last

They will reap a much more striking success if the audience is impressed with the impression that the other has comparatively mildly come away. This implies that the other person must never appear completely weak. When he has talked about his head and collar, do not trample on him for God's sake, but help him, strengthen him, praise him. You will think you are very fair and objective. And in a sense this is true.

Tip:

It is not advisable to provoke your conversation partner too pushy. The stronger your provocations, the more sympathy you pay.

"Please let me finish?"

By far the most common sentence that comes up in discussions is, "Please let me finish?" Yes, it can be predicted with certainty in certain rounds of discussions. The higher the percentage of politicians, the more likely this magical mantra will fall.

First of all, there is nothing to be said against this sentence. Everyone has the right to express their point of view. It goes without saying that you finish speaking and that you don't have to tolerate comments and malicious interruptions. An unmistakable “Now it's my turn!” ensures that you enforce your right.

But unfortunately, in many discussions there is a real "excretion". The saying "Please let me finish?" is used for two purposes, both of which are equally questionable:

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  • to get more speaking time,
  • to put the other wrong.

You shouldn't put up with either. Whenever “Ausrederitis” spreads, you should act.

Punish the other: Let him talk it out!

The most effective remedy for “Ausrederitis” is simply not to interrupt the other, not to cut him off, even if, in your opinion, he says the greatest nonsense. Then he has to spend his entire speaking time with his own intellectual resources and that is not so easy. He repeats himself, his reasoning extends and - what a feast for you! - he starts to contradict himself.

A famous writer once said that no sensible person could speak five minutes at a time without contradicting each other. There is certainly something to it. So sit back, open your ears, and listen to what your counterparts call together.


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