Uncomfortable verbal interactions can bubble up almost anywhere: in the workplace, in families, or any time two people are trying to communicate. Misunderstandings and unhelpful or ineffective social habits can lead to a breakdown in communication. The Soft Answer Verbal T’ai Chi system helps to remedy this.
Created by a group of sisters and sisters-in-law with decades of collective experience in T'ai Chi, Communication, Education and business, organizational and family dynamics, The Soft Answer Verbal T'ai Chi lessons give you both ideas and practical exercises to facilitate learning the skills associated with a Soft Answer practice. We developed The Soft Answer Verbal T’ai Chi as a practice that can help people everywhere develop useful skills for managing verbal aggression. We aim to help others to navigate life's inevitable interpersonal bumps in the road to emerge from these situations gracefully and graciously, without great cost to either party.
The Soft Answer Verbal T'ai Chi system is our way of disempowering aggression without disempowering the people who, misguidedly, resort to aggression from time to time. In our experience, it's a solution that allows the possibility of a win/ win scenario to arise, even in the stickiest of situations, and helps us to emerge feeling confident, strong and solution-oriented while at the same time allowing the other party to feel this way as well
The Soft Answer Verbal T'ai Chi course consists of 24 lessons based on our book chapters, teaching the ins and outs of soft but skillful verbal self-defense. It can be structured several ways (with 3 lessons each week for 8 weeks, a weekend intensive…). You get PDF, MOBI and EPUB versions of the ebook. Kindle and Kindle reader users may also choose to purchase the course through Amazon.com.
Find a friend It's possible that you will want to go through this material independently (and we offer solo versions for many of the exercises that call for a partner), but we believe the effectiveness of the Soft Answer system will be greatly enhanced if you can find a friend, colleagues, family members or coworkers to learn with collaboratively. There is real power in groups! And so, we strongly encourage you to learn The Soft Answer system with a friend if at all possible. Even better, get together with a few friends. Going through the material with a group can increase both ease of learning and effectiveness. Discussing The Soft Answer principles and practicing the techniques with others can be powerfully synergistic. You can take turns delivering verbal attacks to each other and try out different strategies for how to reply.
Friends, family members and colleagues who work together to learn The Soft Answer practice can give support and valuable feedback that’s hard to get any other way. We have worked with this foundational material for years, and we still find new territory when we work with different groups and individuals.
About the PocketCards
PocketCards are things to make and keep close by, in a pocket, wallet or drawer, for example. They offer a quick reminder you can easily access during your day. Every Soft Answer verbal T'ai Chi lesson suggests a few PocketCard ideas, but you can also make up your own, of course!
You can make PocketCards with 3x5 index cards, sticky notes or blank business cards. We suggest you choose the 2-5 cards which speak to you most directly, and start with these. Once these ideas begin to become second nature, you can switch out a card or two for a new replacement. Put cards that are not a good fit for you or seem confusing in the back of your deck. You can always get to those later.
We've also known people to stick a pocket card on their bathroom mirror, refrigerator, the dashboard of their car, or the frame of their computer monitor. We think you'll know what works best for you!
Other course structure possibilities
The suggested course lesson structure is one lesson for each Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the week, for 8 weeks.
But many other configurations are possible. You may want to take your group through 2 lessons per week for 12 weeks. Or, your group may want to meet weekly and take it slow, working with just one lesson per week.
To accelerate and intensify the process, especially if your group has limited time or a special week or long weekend set aside, a group could cover 4 lessons per day for 6 days or even 8 lessons per day for 3 days (such as 3 lessons in the AM, 3 in the afternoon, and 2 in the evening).