Spence: Credibility and Fear

This is the second part of Gerry Spence’s treatment of credibility in his book “How to Argue and Win Every Time”. In the first part, he goes into the power of  revealing the truth. But what holds us back from gaining credibility through truth telling?

The main barrier or lock is fear. We all feel fear a lot more than we might admit publicly or to ourselves. But the fear is there and, in fact, it is the fuel for making a powerful argument. For admitting the fear unlocks the truth in ourselves. That includes admitting it to the OTHER – the opponent.

But society is knit together with the “white lie”. For example, we say we are glad to meet someone when we feel no particular joy. this sort of prevarication does not destroy credibility. But there are times when we must set aside the veneer and act out the truth. This is acting, like actors on the stage. Just as actors try to get at the truth of the character they are presenting, we are trying to get at the truth

We get at that truth by 2disrobing our psychic garments”. Strip naked before you ask the OTHER to do the same. We need to speak as if we are naked. We wear our psychic clothes to conceal who we really are so that we can be rewarded for how we appear. But the appearance is not the reality. It does not build credibility. Credibility only flows from what is real.

This means telling the OTHER what you want. Like the vegetable salesman who says “Please buy my carrots. I need the money”. Or like Gerry in his closing argument at trial telling the jury that he wants justice for his client. But the jury cannot give real justice. They can only award damages. And that is their moment to send a signal of what justice they want to give. Failing to give it in full would only further damage the victims. If you feel that and believe that, you can ask for it. And that is what you need to do.

Next up -. The power of listening. Stay tuned!


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