Last time the used car salesman pitched a lemon at you, he called the high price tag an “investment.” Didn’t sound so bad did it? He gift wrapped his words.
When you were fired, they called it a strategic downsizing. Now that didn’t make you any better off… but it sure sounded nicer than being “fired”
Euphemisms are efficient linguistic tactics to counter objections. The key is to redefine certain words in an antagonist’s statement such that his objection no longer seems so overwhelming.
Through redefinition we create new “frame” meanings about a behaviour by re-labeling a key word that’s part of the belief statement. The relabeling frames the entire belief statement with a new meaning.
Redefinition asserts that “X doesn’t mean Y, it means Z” Since X=Z and not Y, we now have a totally new belief statement. hopefully a more empowering one.
Here are some questions you can test yourself with to increase your flexibility at reframing: What meanings have other people given to this objection/ belief?
What other meanings could I attribute this behavior? What value could this belief have in other nations or cultures?
The secret to reframing: Simply replace one of the key words in the argument such that it subtly changes the sentence’s meaning.
1. “It doesn’t mean x, it means y”
2. “It doesn’t cause x,” it causes y”
3. “If you really want to see a case of x, consider.”
Let’s do some reframes, after all, practice makes perfect.
Objection: You were too tough on your employees; it’s unkind! How do you expect to motivate them?
Answer: I agree that they might be hurt at first. But tough words also have its place. In this instance, I’m actually not criticizing without just cause. I’m simply expressing my feelings so they’ll know where I stand. Would you rather I lied? You believe in assertive conversation, don’t you?
Objection: You’re tardy for the umpteenth time. You don’t care about me.
Answer: My being late doesn’t imply I don’t care. It means I had a lot of things to do at work today; it also means I want to get everything out of my mind so when I get home I can fully relish being with you and show you how much I truly care!