How to Get out of the Hot Seat While Remaining Engaged

Have you ever been in a conversation involving a disagreement about an important issue, but you were unable to defend your point? Greg shares how to shift control of the conversation back to you while shifting the spotlight—and the pressure—back on the other person.

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I'd like to explain another variation in the

tactical game plan. That is, how you can use the first two steps of our tactics,

that is, you're gathering information about the person's point of view, and

you're also gathering information about the reasons for their view, "What do you

mean by that? How did you come to that conclusion?" And

I want to show you how you can use those two questions to, as I call it, stay out

of the hot seat. Now, the hot seat is where you find yourself when you're not

so much in questioning mode, but you're in persuasion mode. You're having a

discussion with somebody else. You're advancing your own view, and the person

is coming back at you with a bunch of challenges and objections that you don't

know how to deal with. You are completely out of your depth. Now, there's a way you

can deal with this that is not difficult at all, but I want to make an observation.

One of the goals of the tactical game plan is that you stay in the driver's

seat. Even though you're not doing all the talking, most of the talking even, you

are still guiding the conversation using questions, okay? But when you're in the

hot seat, when somebody else is coming on strong against you with all these

challenges and objections that you don't know how to deal with, who is in the

driver's seat now? You or that other person? Obviously, the other person. You're

feeling it, okay? We can change that very quickly. I want you to think about

switching immediately from persuasion mode into student mode. You're gonna stop

trying to persuade the person because they have challenges you can't deal with,

and you are now going to be a student of their view, okay?

You're gonna turn it around, and here's the way it will sound. You're gonna say

something like, "Wow, you have a lot of objections I don't know how to deal with,"

or, "You know a lot more about this topic that I know about,

so I'm wondering if you could do me a favor. Can you slow down a little bit?

Let me get a piece of paper maybe, and I'll take some notes. Tell me clearly

what your view is," write it down, "and tell me then your specific reasons that you

hold it, and I'll track that too." Notice those are

the first two questions: What do you mean by that? How did you come to that

conclusion? Nothing new here. We're just applying it in a different way. But when

you say, "Hold on a moment, you know more about this than I do. Can I

write some of this down? What do you mean by that? How'd you come to that

conclusion?" If you say that, who is now in the driver's seat of the conversation?

You or the other person? Not the other person. You are. You are now directing

that where you want it to go. And then you say to them, "Now let me think about

it." Now let me think about it. And them's the magic words because when

you say, "Now let me think about it," do you have any further obligation to answer

the challenges? No, you've already admitted that you can't answer the

challenge. You want to get an education so that you can consider it. Now, this

gives you a tremendous amount of freedom and latitude and rescue in a

circumstance when you're in the hot seat. What do you do next?

Well, you do what you say you're gonna do. You think about it on your own at your

leisure when the pressure is off. This is where you can gather the information to

make you ready, now that you have the ideas down clearly, make you ready to

respond to the issue the next time. That is a simple way using your tactical game

plan to get out of the hot seat.

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Greg Koukl