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Old 02-06-2007, 04:36 PM   #1
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"Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Posted 2007-02-06 16:35:15 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://www.articledashboard.com/Arti...stomers/143710

This article entitled "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways to Handle Difficult Customers" presents seven "aikido principles" one can use in "off the mat" situations. These principles include, "An Aikidoist strategically calms down the attack," "Aikido never meets force with force," "Aikidoits blend with their opponent's energy," and "An Aikido Master never seeks to kill his opposition."

What are your thoughts on these principles and their use "off the mat"?

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Old 02-06-2007, 10:01 PM   #2
dps
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

"as I watched Steven Segal effortlessly defeat his opponents without violence or aggression in half a dozen of his movies."

Which half a dozen Segal movies was the author referring to where Segal was not aggressive or violent?

"An Aikido Master never seeks to kill his opposition."
Did O'Sensei say this?

"The next time you're faced with a difficult customer, why not go Steven Segal…you'll have fun and you'll be amazed how effective you'll be!"
Huh!!! Going Segal on difficult customers? which movies was the author watching?

David
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:52 PM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Steven Seagel is one of the poorest examples to use regarding aikido; he is not even an example of 'americanized aikido'... A good film on aikido has yet to be made.

In gassho

Mark
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:02 AM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Hello Jun,

I was not particularly convinced by the article, and I think that Myra Golden's aikido credentials should be posted up front and not left for people to assume from a reading of the article. And I am just a little worried that you are also giving her some free advertising.

I looked at the web page and it is like many others that stress the 'proven' value of using a 'win-win' negotiation method. Except that it has never been proven and if you think about it, it probably couldn't be.

Since I teach negotiation, I often receive requests to use the latest material in my university courses. I recently received some material on video courses from Stanford University, in which there is one on 'aikido for managers' (I forget the exact title). I was surprised and wondered whether established aikido teachers were involved in this.

'Verbal aikido' sounds to me very much like 'Non-Violent Communication'. This is the 'reification' of what should be completely normal communication/negotiation skills into a product, which you pay for and which can never be proven to deliver what it claims to do. It is like arguing that it has been 'proved' that Pedigree Chum is better pet food because more dogs 'like' it.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:46 AM   #5
ajbarron
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Aikido Credentials ????

Can't see any.

From Myra Golden's website


Meet Myra
Myra Golden Seminars' Founder & President, Myra Golden is one of the service industry's most prominent trainers and a highly regarded business growth strategist. Companies hire Myra and her team to help them achieve measurable growth by building, recovering, and strengthening customer relationships.

In 1999 Myra established Myra Golden Seminars after identifying the need for customer service professionals to be equipped with specific skills for responding to complaints and difficult customers in such a way that they completely regain goodwill and even strengthen loyalty after any service mishap. Her firm provides measurably effective training for some of the world's best-known companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson and Frito-Lay.

Her interactive customer recovery training programs and e-Learning programs have gained national attention and have made her an in-demand speaker at annual Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals conferences, Government Consumer Affairs conferences, and company annual meetings. She is a frequent contributor to the Customer Relationship Management Journal, publisher of a weekly eZine, author of Beyond WOW, and more than 200 articles.

Myra is the former global head of Consumer Affairs for Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, where she led a strategic team that regained the goodwill of unhappy customers and she worked with the company's loyalty program to create value for the most frequent customers. It was this position that taught Myra the bottom-line value of restoring customer confidence after service mishaps.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Human Relations. Myra's psychology background has uniquely positioned her to develop critically acclaimed programs for dealing with difficult customers and understanding the psychology of recovery.
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
Dan Rubin
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Many years ago I attended a management training seminar during which the instructor said, "When I teach aikido, I tell my students...." I can't remember the rest of it, but the point was that aikido principles were relevant to this seminar. So at the next break I trotted over to her and asked her where she studies aikido. She looked shocked, and mumbled something about how she has never studied aikido, but her 10 year old niece does, so she's learned a few things about it. Now it was my turn to be shocked, and I mumbled something like "Oh, uh, OK" and walked away.

Dan
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:42 PM   #7
Michael Hackett
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

This sounds an awful lot like "Verbal Judo" which was trendy training for law enforcement in California about five years ago. Same premise; diffuse the anger of suspects/victims/witnesses using similar techniques and everything will deescalate. When it works, its golden. When it doesn't, its hats and bats time.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:38 AM   #8
Mike Grant
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

I guess I'm going to get my knuckles rapped for this, but this woman seems to be typical of the kind of new-age whackos who seem to latch onto aikido as a way to make themselves a quick buck-whilst in the process dragging the name of this venerable martial art through the dirt and making serious practitioners of the art into a collective laughing stock.

It's bad enough to have these people cruising around accusing O Sensei of being a 'pacifist' (to the extent that it's almost not politically correct to suggest anything else nowadays) but Steven Seagal, or at least the characters he portrays on film! Did this woman ever see the one where CPO Casey Ryback of the navy Seals hijacks a battleship? I lost count of the number of dead bodies. But maybe shooting them or blowing them up doesn't count ass 'aikido' in this woman's book....
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Old 02-08-2007, 12:15 PM   #9
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Quote:
Mike Grant wrote:
I guess I'm going to get my knuckles rapped for this, but this woman seems to be typical of the kind of new-age whackos who seem to latch onto aikido as a way to make themselves a quick buck-whilst in the process dragging the name of this venerable martial art through the dirt and making serious practitioners of the art into a collective laughing stock.
I think this is pretty harsh... I know what you are saying but the fact is that the number of people who do an art is small. the number that do it to any level of competence is smaller still. But the number of people who are affected by that art can be quite large.

It would be hard to over estimate the effect that a small group of serious Buddhist teachers have had on the mental health community. Folks like Jack Kornfield have taught workshops and conducted retreats for mental health practitioners for years. there are thousands of folks who use the "concepts" of what he taught but have never really practiced in any consistent fashion.

Terry Dobson in Giving in to Get Your Way and Tom Crum in The Magic of Conflict put these ideas out there into wide circualtion many years ago. People who have no idea whatever about the basis for these principles in technique have been using the concepts for some time. They were put out there by legitimate Aikido teachers precisely for this purpose.

My Uncle worked for the State Department and was the Ambassador to Zaire at one point. When he retired from State he was involved in work at a think tank which did resaerch on plans for peace in the Middle East. He sent me a copy of a paper written by some folks who were quite consciously using what they understood to be Aikido principles as the basis for negotiations. I am sure that the authors knew nothing about Aikido as a martial art; they only knew about the principles.

If Aikido is thought to be a practice that would potentially change the world, one would assume that this would be one of the ways in which that could happen. Considering that only one percent of the population will ever do any martial arts training and of that only a small number will do Aikido, one can't see any other way but for Aikido's influence to extend beyond the community of practitioners.

I have met a number of people who seem to understand the principles of Aikido off the mat better than many of my colleagues seem to. Skill in one area does not necessarily result in skill in the other. The lady in question is a professional doing work for various business interests. I would expect that, if she wasn't pretty good at it, she wouldn't have much of a customer base, especially in an area in which referals are so important. I'll tell you one thing... I wouldn't trust a lot of the Aikido people I know to work in customer service or any area in which dispute resolution is called for. They may do Aikido but cranking a nikkyo on someone isn't a very good form of conflict resolution in the real world.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 02-08-2007 at 12:18 PM.

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Old 02-09-2007, 04:51 AM   #10
Mike Grant
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

George,

Point(s) taken but I have to disagree. This is nothing more or less than cheap profiteering.

According to this woman she 'demonstrates' aikido at her seminars-but what, exactly is her experience (if any)? I have no problem if she wants to source her teachings to Dobson's book (which I personally don't like by the way) but she doesn't do that. She makes an implicit claim for her own expertise in aikido.

Another thing that I have a deep problem with is the characterisation of aikido as a 'non violent' martial art-and especially by somebody like this whose experience appears to be confined to one or more cursory viewings of a Seagal movie. If it was really 'non violent' then I for one wouldn't be wasting my time practising it and I suspect that most of the people at the dojo where I train would feel the same way.

My favourite quote from a seagal movie:

Nightclub bouncer to Seagal character 'If I let you in, I'd lose my job.'

Seagal character to nightclub bouncer 'Wouldn't that be better than losing you teeth?'

(Has this woman even bothered to watch the movies let alone undertake any serious training in aikido I wonder...)
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Old 02-09-2007, 04:57 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Again, as always, I do applaud people's attempts to apply Aikido concepts and principles "off the mat" in everyday life and IMHO believe that this was the aim and intent of O'Sensei. OTOH, I tend to beware of false credentials and flashy packaging. Maybe this type of door will get a few people interested in seriously studying Aikido both on and off the mat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-09-2007, 03:15 PM   #12
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

There are quite a few books out there dedicated to enlightening the business community by bringing Aikido principles into this sphere.
Some examples: Corporate Aikido by Robert Pino,
Leadership Aikido by John O'Neil
An Unused Intelligence by Andy Bryner & Dawna Markov Ph D

None of the authors have any extensive aikido experience, some have as far as I can tell have no mat time at all, only Bryner has some Ki Aikido experience, which is apparent in most/all of the exercises in the book, which are common in Ki Aikido dojo's everywhere.

This lack of mat time does not however invalidate the message in the books themselves. I found them all very interesting and they all have something of value to add to the overall sum of business/leadership knowledge. In fact they go alot further down the road of translating the effectiveness of aikido and it's principles to the wider world, than most of us quietly perfecting our art in numerous small dojo's around the world.

Personally, I have run quite a few in house corporate trainings where I have used ki development type exercises in the training room to illustrate metaphorically, real world events. These are then examined and other communications models used to translate the mind/body experiences into a usable tool for everyday life.
Virtually every delegate who went through this type of training enjoyed it, as it engaged them in a more complete way than the normal chalk and talk / powerpoint presentations they were used to.
I did alway make the point that I was not teaching them any aikido and that if they wanted to understand how aikido really works then they'd have to put in the mat hours like the rest of us. However, many of them that I introduced this method of training to, were grateful for the new perspective that they gained and some went on to put it to positive use in the workplace/home.

As George so rightly pointed out, statistically there are very few of us practicing our art, and even fewer that really excel. So I think that the skilled translation of what we do on the mat to the wider world through books, seminars etc, on the whole is a good thing. As long as the proponent are truthfull about their own personal expertise, and give credit where it is due.

O Sensei did say that aikido is for everyone, but they way we go about promoting it in the dojo world, it is pretty much annonymous. How many people do you meet that have no idea what aikido is? We still have along way to go to realise O Sensei's vision.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-09-2007, 04:03 PM   #13
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Quote:
Mike Grant wrote:
According to this woman she 'demonstrates' aikido at her seminars-but what, exactly is her experience (if any)?
Yes, well, the article demonstrates that she does have a pretty good understanding of the principles she's espousing and attributing to Aikido. As for physically demonstrating Aikido, maybe all she does is a simple irimi nage against a punch?

There are at least half a dozen "demonstrations" I could come up with that would effectively demonstrate those principles that a fairly new Aikidoist could pull off if they understood those principles. Heck, there's a couple where they'd just need to know how to go through the motions and it would be good enough for what she's doing.

Yes, of course I would want a more legitimate and powerful demonstration if it was available. I certainly would not be satisfied with a canned demo for my school. But for a semnar like she's leading? Well, not only might it be good enough but it might be ideal. And maybe she's found that it is.

I say this on this board more than anywhere else I go and it applies - yet again - here: you can go wrong by being too skeptical as easily as you can be being too gullible.

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Old 02-09-2007, 04:32 PM   #14
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
I say this on this board more than anywhere else I go and it applies - yet again - here: you can go wrong by being too skeptical as easily as you can be being too gullible.
Good advice to give wherever you go Michael, thanks

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Old 02-09-2007, 06:05 PM   #15
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Comments about her credentials or her inspiration from Segal movies are missing the point. The OP was asking for

"What are your thoughts on these principles and their use "off the mat"?"

I think the general idea presented is a good one at least. Situations should always IMO be 1) avoided, 2) verbally descalated, or 3) merciful self defense carried out, probably in that order. This artice focused on customers, where 1) and 3) are not options. So that leaves 2) as the only solution that is feasible given the constraints of the situation. I think her #4 is especially helpful, as it stresses empathy, not sympathy.

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Old 02-11-2007, 01:05 PM   #16
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Re: "Verbal Aikido: 7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customers"

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Comments about her credentials or her inspiration from Segal movies are missing the point. The OP was asking for

"What are your thoughts on these principles and their use "off the mat"?"

I think the general idea presented is a good one at least. Situations should always IMO be 1) avoided, 2) verbally descalated, or 3) merciful self defense carried out, probably in that order. This artice focused on customers, where 1) and 3) are not options. So that leaves 2) as the only solution that is feasible given the constraints of the situation. I think her #4 is especially helpful, as it stresses empathy, not sympathy.
Here is the second 'principle of aikido' according to this self professed 'expert' on Seagal movies and aikido:

"2. Aikido never meets force with force. In fact, there are no direct attacks and very little striking or kicking. When dealing with angry customers it is natural to respond to an attack with an attack. If the customer yells, we escalate our voice. When the attack gets personal, we become defensive and less willing to work with the customer. While we may feel justified in launching our attack because we've been attacked, we must realize that a defensive (forceful) response only escalates the original problem. Let's learn from the Aikido masters and not attack back defensively. Instead, we will respond carefully and strategically.

The only thing is, O Sensei taught us that 90% of aikido is atemi...

So was O Sensei wrong and/or in violation of the purported second principle of aikido?

I could go on but why waste the time. This is not aikido in any shape or form. It's a squalid and degrading attempt at commercial exploitation of everything that some of us hold dear. We are a laughing stock among many serious martial arts practitioners because we tolerate, and in many cases even encourage, this kind of thing.
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