Episode #63: The Best Communication Ninja Skill – Speaking Unarguably
What if I told you that you could genuinely speak about anything that you want to in a way that nobody can argue with? Nobody can but, but you, nobody can debate with you. If that were possible for you, what would that unlock? I’m really excited today to teach you one of my favorite skills that is directly relevant to the whole body of work that we call conscious leadership. This skill is a super ninja communication tool. It’s also a really, really useful way to be self-aware of when you might be dipping into drama, and it’s also a useful way to get out of drama and to stop spreading drama in your relationships and in your life. So I’m going to teach you today the juicy ninja skill of speaking unarguably.
Welcome back to the Allowed. I’m your host, Caneel Joyce. Thank you so much for showing back up again to the show, and if you’re a first time listener welcome. I’m really excited today to teach you a super ninja communication tool. And this skill is speaking unarguably. Before I get into that, I want to ask you a favor. I am putting together a list of the most interesting coaches, experts, leaders, authors, podcasters on the planet whose work somehow feels like it might be relevant to the types of topics that we talk about here on the show. This show is really all about helping you to access your full power by dropping into your full wholeness and accepting and allowing that every part of you is lovable. I know that that is really the key to all of the transformation that you want to experience in your leadership and in your life.
It’s critical that all of us begin that work and that we do it together because when we all can access our zone of genius from that whole place, we truly do have the power to do massive things that seem impossible sometimes such as reversing climate change, ending discrimination, going completely clean in our energy. So there’s so much that we could do together when we pull together in this way. So when you give yourself the gift of growth and love and learning, you are truly giving a gift to the world and I want you to join me in this process. So who are those people who relate to some of that stuff I’m talking about that you would love if you could just spend an hour talking directly to them, getting some advice, getting some coaching, doing some sort of a workshop kind of an experience, whatever it is, who are those? Because those ideas that you’re going to send me, and you can do that on any social platform you like, I’m on Twitter @Caneel , I’m on Instagram at Caneel.IS, I’m on Facebook, Caneel Joyce.
You can hit me up any of those places, send me the list because I’m going to put that list together and get those coaches in front of you. I’m doing all of that inside of our new membership, which you can join at caneel.com/yes. So in that membership, as I’ve mentioned before, you will be able to be coached directly by me, you will learn to be coached and coach others who are also in the program, an amazing group of individuals, and you’re going to get to have regular visits with different experts, all these experts that I’m asking you to tell me about so that you can have a really broad sense of what’s the cutting edge of growth these days. So if that turns you on, who comes to mind? Please reach out to me on social media, you can find all the links to that also at caneel.com/yes or you can leave it in a review that’s easier. I can’t wait to hear from you, now let’s get on with the show.
Speaking unarguably. What if I told you that you could genuinely speak about anything that you want to in a way that nobody can argue with? If that were possible for you, what would that unlock? Could you perhaps resolve some relationship tensions and issues that have been bothering you for a while? Could you maybe ask for a different role at work, a promotion, a raise? Could you maybe renegotiate some of your agreements with your family, with your partner that would actually help both of you to get more of what you want? What if I told you that this is both the simplest skill in the world and one of the most challenging to stick with? So I want to tell you, it seems simple when I describe it and that’s why it’s going to be key for you to hop into that membership and practice with us.
When I’ve taught others this skill in our coaching programs, we might work on this skill for six months before it really feels fluid and easy. That’s so awesome because the harder it is to do it, the more it benefits you. So let me tell you what this means, speaking unarguably, it just means we’re speaking in facts, we are not speaking in stories. So what’s a fact, what’s a story? You can go back and listen to episode 46 where I dive deeply into this distinction and why it’s so important. But right now, here are the categories of facts, so a fact is anything that’s directly observable. So you can think of it as I can observe it with my five senses and if a video camera were to record it, and I’m reporting exactly what the camera recorded, nobody could argue with it. It’s the objective reality of what happened.
It also includes things that are directly observable only inside myself and there’s three categories of this. This is my thoughts, my emotions, and my body sensations. So thoughts that includes my judgments, my opinions, my ideas, things I think I want, my goals, my objectives, it includes stories I make up and tell myself. So stories, that’s any kind of interpretation of what something means or what something is that’s not that directly observable fact. My emotions, that includes anything that’s a pure emotion. So I like to use this model of five emotions, like joy, fear, sadness, anger, desire. That’s a pretty basic five, that keeps me clean. Once I start going into things like guilt or frustration, there’s a story embedded in that emotion already. So I like to keep it really, really simple and go with just those five.
All right, then it’s my body sensations. So this is anything I feel with my physical body. I could feel it on my body like there’s cold on my skin, or I could feel it in my body like there’s swirling in my stomach, there’s tightness in my shoulders. I can get really specific and make this easy for myself by just saying, what body part am I aware of right now and what do I feel there? Right now my toes feel cold. All right, that’s my body sensation. My emotion, I feel joy and I feel, in that category of desire or sexual feelings, I feel this feeling of curiosity. So that falls into that last bucket there. I also notice that I am having a thought, I think I might be speaking quickly, I’m curious if I’m speaking too quickly, do you notice it listeners? So that’s my thought.
All I did to do that is I just asked myself what was true, what was true right now for me? I didn’t have any judgments or need to change it or shape, it’s just what’s true. I don’t need to even understand why I feel that way, why I think those things, where it comes from, what I need to do about it, why it matters, none of that. Guess what, if I did those extra things, I’d be starting to make up stories. So yes, I can observe my stories, but I’m not going to speak in the language of stories.
All right, so let me get more specific about how you can apply this and why it really matters. So one of the main things I do in my one-on-one coaching work is I help my leaders. And a lot of them are C-level executives, they’re deep in their careers, are super experienced. But it’s amazing how often we still run into communication issues when we don’t speak unarguably, and hardly anybody does. So you can instantly set yourself apart in the pack by doing this.
For example, a leader might say, “I really think that we need to make a big change in our business model.” Let me just ask you, is that unarguable? Is it only facts? No, the whole thing’s a story except for I really think. So I really think, so I have a thought. Great, that’s an arguable, that we really need to, all right, so boom, I heard that word need. I know instantly that’s a story because it’s never true that we need anything, it’s never true. We don’t need to do anything, so I can instantly say that’s a story let’s keep going. We really need to make a big change, so big change, what is big change? It’s also story-like, it’s very subjective and squishy, I have no idea what that means. In our business model, what’s a business model? I know the business model is, you know what a business model is, but it’s still is an abstraction, it’s a representation of some of the ways that our business profits and operate and it’s not a tangible thing.
Here’s how I could turn that into an unarguable statement that is true, it’s so easy to do this. I have the thought that I’d like us to talk about making some changes to how we operate here as a business and to what we’re calling our business model. So what was the difference there? Why is that different? I removed that big story statement of we really need to and I just said, I’ve had the thought and I want to. Now, what did I want? Did I want us to change our business model? I do, but what I actually want that’s a more concrete observable thing that I can actually ask for in and unarguable way is I want to have a discussion with you guys. So this is pointing me toward I can now begin create some clear agreements.
I can begin to create agreements with you by making clear requests that are unarguable so that you would know if we actually fulfilled the agreement together. So now I’m actually moving into action more quickly. I can imagine in some rooms if I come in and I say we need to change our business model, I might suddenly be faced with a whole bunch of arguments and we’d get stuck in debate. I’ve certainly been in meetings like that and I want to bang my head against the wall sometimes because I have the thought we are going to keep debating this and we’re not making progress and I want to actually make progress. We talked about clear agreements back in episode 59. Go listen to that one next and then you can learn how to even take this further into how do you create those clear agreements. But what’s really, really key is that we’re going to get unarguable with ourselves first then we can make clear requests.
Another example would be, and this is how we create relationship problems by not speaking unarguably, we create drama, would be say that I go to my husband or my son or my mom or whoever, my best friend, “Oh, you’re always running late.” That’s a good one, “You’re always running late.” So is that a fact or a story? So I heard always so instantly I think to myself, that’s a story unless it is literally 100% of the time true. That would be pretty, pretty hard to observe unless I’m following you around with a camera and a clock and your calendar for your whole entire life, I can’t ever know that.
Also late itself is a very subjective term. So I could be on time in California, at least 20 years ago this was the case, it’s changed a little bit. But before, you could be 10 minutes late and you’d be considered on time. There was traffic, there was no GPS, it was just time is a little more fluid here in Los Angeles than it was say in New York where on-time means at the exact minute that you are scheduled to begin. In other countries, you could be an hour late and not be considered late, an hour after the time prescribed. So you’re always late. Whoa, big, huge story, very arguable, probably going to make someone defensive because they’re going to pick up on you’re in drama. Now the big sign that you’re in drama is that you’re not speaking unarguably, you’re speaking in story, you think you’re right.
We speak in story when we think we’re right and being right is what brings us below the line, and by definition we are in drama. So people are going to feel that coming from you when you are spreading those righteous stories around. You could even do this about yourself, I’m always late. Also a story, still in drama. What am I being right about? I don’t feel right, I feel wrong. Yeah, you’re being right that you’re wrong. You’re thinking that you’re right that something is bad about you that you need to change and that you’re always late, so that’s a story.
Let’s back up and look at how can we turn that into an unarguable statement. There are a number of ways I could do this. One would be, I notice that the past three times that we’ve had an agreement about when we were going to begin the meeting, you arrived at least three minutes after the time scheduled on the calendar. So now I got really unarguable. I’m I’m speaking in facts, I’m not saying late at all I’m saying it was after that time, at least this number of minutes, and I’ve noticed a pattern, I’ve noticed it a number of times. Now, I’m not claiming that I know how this person is in their whole entire life, I’m stating the facts that I have personally observed. Now, that person might not remember, we could check it out, but we could go back and if we had a video camera, we could prove. Now, it could be that I’m remember incorrectly, but I’m beginning from this place of I’m speaking unarguably because this is a factual statement. So now all we have to do is check out the facts, it’s a lot less personal.
It could also be that the person says, “Okay, yeah, I was three minutes after the appointed time.” That’s not so bad. Maybe you find out that person would prefer to have a more fluid start time. And that when they say 12 o’clock, and by the way, I’m like this, what they really want the agreement to be as I will arrive around 12 o’clock and it will be somewhere within a window of 10 minutes otherwise you will hear from me by text message. So that’s how I operate in my internal team, we are all in and out of various projects all of the time and my clients they come first for me. So that’s just the agreement that we’ve come to and it works for us. So in that sense, we’ve redefined what late actually means. Me starting with an unarguable statement like I’ve noticed that the last three times, that allows us now to begin to get clear on what we both actually want and what a clear agreement might be so that we can regain integrity.
So see, it moves us into action, it takes us out of drama, it puts us into a much more creative, high integrity space that is less steeped in story, less steeped in drama. I could go further and say, when I’ve noticed this, I’ve noticed that I felt a little teeny bit angry, I’ve noticed that I’ve wanted to begin at the minute that we say we’re going to start so that we can make more progress in this meeting. I make up a story that it’s a waste of my time, I also have been making up a story about you that you don’t respect my time. So I’m not right about those stories, but I want to share that I’ve had them and I want to just check that out. How do you feel about the value of my time? How do you feel about how productive our meetings are when we start three minutes late? How can we reach an agreement where… I would like to reach an agreement where we are on the same page about this so we can stay in integrity.
This word integrity I’ve abused it a few times in this episode. On episode 58, we talked about integrity, what it means, why it matters, how to stay in it, how to feel your way into it, how to regain it, how to renegotiate agreements. You can get all of that in episode 58 and it relates really deeply to this topic of speaking unarguably.
So one of the things I’ve noticed is it can be really tricky to disentangle myself enough to speak unarguably when I’m in drama. When I’m in drama, it’s by definition challenging to figure out what the facts are because we are so connected to our righteous stories about what is true. I’ve had so many leaders argue with me, this is a fact, it is a fact, and it’s subjective, it’s not a fact. Let’s find what the facts actually are, what did you actually observe? Maybe all you observed are your own thoughts. That’s fine, share your thoughts, check them out. This is an opportunity for you to question and to really find out what do you actually want? What do you actually want here? What do you actually want to ask for? What do you want to advocate? What are your preferences? I can speak unarguably about my preferences, they’re just what I want.
It’s a really great tool whenever you’re getting into a sticky communication situation, really just pause and stop yourself and say, “Okay, what’s actually true? What are the facts? What do I really want to ask for? What do I want to get across?” That might take us some time to disentangle the drama, but the more you practice this, especially if you can engage a friend and calling you out, whenever you don’t speak unarguably, you will master it and this is a total game changer. Instead of getting hooked in a big drama based conversation, you can actually be surrounded by people who are in drama and speaking from drama and telling stories and getting triggered and all that and you can see right here where you are in yourself.
So I am going to give you a challenge, I want you to go out and practice this today. I want you to really notice when am I telling stories. And here’s how we do it in my coaching groups and you actually have this experience with us, go to caneel.com/yes, join our membership so that you can get into a live interactive workshop setting where I’m going to coach you through learning the skill of speaking and arguably and everybody’s going to be on the same page about it so we can all laugh at how ridiculously hard it can be sometimes. Then you’ll just be in awe when you… You will feel so much more present and connected to people when they speak unarguably to you. This is a masterful life leadership skill that you will never regret learning ever, ever, it is so valuable.
So what we do in that group is everybody has a little post-it note, on it it says the word story, and we listen to each other, and we’re on Zoom here to the talking. And once we hear a story, everyone holds up their story post it sign, and then the person goes back and they revise and they figure out what actually is unarguable here. It’s usually a lot less, fewer words, more specific, more clean, much more easy to move forward. So please go out, get your friends and coworkers involved in this. So simple, haven’t listened to the episode, get yourself, a post-it note, or just get used to saying that word story. Again, also go back and listen to, let’s see, a couple of episodes I mentioned here, and I’ll put these all in the show notes for you. So fact versus story was episode 46, clear agreements was episode 59, and integrity was episode 58. So you can go 56, 58, 59, and you will be well on your way to beginning to master the ninja skill of speaking unarguably.
I’ve mentioned drama a few times in this episode, too, so if that’s a new concept for you. You can go back and listen to episode number six where we dived into the drama triangle, what it means, why it matters, how it leads to your own suffering and the suffering of others, and what to do about it. So I’m so excited to get you engaged in this, this is so much fun. If you want to practice with me, you can even send me a thing that you want to communicate to somebody, you can ping me on social media and I will reply to you and I will make some suggestions about how you could make it unarguable and be much more successful in your communication. All right, I look forward to seeing you next week. Please do go to caneel.com/yes and sign up for our membership. I can’t wait to learn and grow with you. Thanks for being here. See you next time, bye.