And thus it goes: the moment you start to listen or look for clues, the more they jump out at you at every turn. Yesterday was all about 4 ways to spot when someone is trying to shut you up: and lo and behold after a day of in person meetings and conferring, the tactics proliferate like rabbits and another 5 ways of getting you to shut up appear as if by magic. They are:
One. We don’t have enough time for this. This is a useful tactic when you feel you’re losing control of the conversation and you want to hurry someone along or just get plain rid of.
Two. Offer false binaries into the debate and insist that people have to chose between Option A and its polar opposite, Option B. Don’t tolerate any suggestion that the world is more complicated than the binary and if someone is suggesting that the world is messier than the binaries suggest, just resort to tactic one and tell them you’ve run out of time.
Three. Wheel in the budget. There’s never enough money to do what’s needed and the budgets usually won’t stretch to do what you need them to do. This is a difficult one to counter given the shortage of the green stuff these days, but counter it you must if you want to continue the dialogue.
Four. Claim “It’s Obvious.” This is equivalent to the ‘No-Brainer’ tactic referred to yesterday but has the benefit of aiming to make your speaker feel stupid, rather than brainless. The difference is marginal I grant you, but at least they’re allowing you the possibility of having a brain rather than not having one at all.
Five. Filibuster. In other words, your opposite number just doesn’t stop talking, way beyond what is necessary. This might be until you run out of time, run out of interest or just run out of the room screaming in silent agony. This requires a fair degree of rhetorical skill and is not an attribute the average politician possesses. But you can spot a filibusterer when you hear one: it well and truly shuts you up.
So that’s nine rhetorical techniques designed to shut you up in just two days! If you have any more (and I’m sure you do), it would be great to hear them!
This blog is contributing to The Mighty (Un)Mute, a campaign aiming to raise £5,000 to support the artistic creation for one of ten Globe Sculptures in The World Reimagined art trail across Leicester. The purpose? To recognise and honour those most impacted by the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans through the centuries to the present day.
The TMC staff team are going to support the campaign by taking part in the Mighty (UN)Mute, a day-long vow of silence, on the 5th October. If you want to join us on the day and take a vow of silence, then please check out the campaign here.
Of if the thought of donating your silence for 24 hours is really too much, then you can donate your hard-earned disposable income here.
Or if neither of these is possible (and heaven knows we’re all in tough financial times right now), then anything you can do to share and shout about the campaign would be equally welcome and appreciated.
So… come and help me to shut up, once and for all. You know you want to.
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