Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The minute you start yelling, you lose

Here’s an interesting piece on a recent incident in a New York restaurant where a patron, who happened to be a New York Times reporter, walked in to a kitchen to dress down a chef who was yelling at a waiter and being heard in the dining room:

There seem to be three responses in the comments to the incident, stay out of it, walk out or good for you.

I’m not an “A” type personality. I stew, I don’t spew. Over the years I’ve learned that the less said, the better. I break that rule; but, I try not to. I’ve especially learned that you don’t get anywhere by yelling, even if you are dealing with a yeller. To use a clichéd phrase, you’ve stooped to their level.

Way back when, for a year, I taught the sixth grade. I almost never raised my voice, something I’d come across somewhere in college, the theory being that if you speak softly, people strain to hear and in the process actually hear and pay attention to what you are saying. In practice, it worked. Then too, a couple of times, I raised my voice causing the kids to have minor heart attacks. No yelling necessary.

The other problem with yelling is that it leaves the other person with nowhere to go. If you’re going to get what you want, or something near it, in a dispute, you’ve got to give the other side a way to save face. Screaming at someone in public isn’t a very good way to do that.

1 comment:

The Curmudgeon said...

I had a chance to see one of the most effective and respected lawyers in the State of Illinois argue a case before the Supreme Court. I'd written the first draft of the brief he was arguing. (Believe it or not, entire sentences of that first draft survived into the final product. Not always in the same order....)

Anyway, he spoke into the microphone in a whisper. A couple of times the justices asked him to please speak a little louder.

It was incredibly effective. They were hanging on his every word.

You'd think I'd learn a lesson from this, wouldn't you?

Yeah, I'd think so, too.

Sadly, I forget the lesson too often.