We’ve touched on asserting dominance in regards to both physical acts and mental outlook, in this final instalment we will consider verbal dominance. This could be perhaps the most interesting area of dominance assertion to explore as most will have experienced the examples we’ll be looking at in some way or another. Before we dive into the topic, first we must define the term we’re using.
So what is verbal dominance? Displaying your high worth and status in social situations in a way that pulls people into your frame, your influence. In other words, verbal dominance is about how you convey your character to others in an effective manner. If you can convey a strong and confident persona through your method of communication, you will impose your character on others in a way that does not threaten their own self-image. It’s not necessarily about being aggressive and always controlling the social dynamics you are taking part in via socialising, it’s about bending those dynamics in such a way that benefits you if it is required. Sometimes it’s not required and you will seemingly be the socially powerful attractor in your group conversation, however knowing how to change up the game if things aren’t going your way is essential for verbal dominance.
With this definition in mind, let’s go into more detail.
Let’s once again call upon our previously used analogy of socialising with a group of people that you know fairly well. It tends to be pretty simple and easy to pick out who is driving the direction of the conversation, and who is being looked at for the ‘correct’ response when something interesting occurs. That person is exerting verbal dominance, they are able to break social rules – to some extent – and it’s perceived to be acceptable. But if someone else attempted the same thing, you’d likely to see the group looking towards the dominant force for a response, which could be positive or negative. The point though is that it is their choice.
If you’re really perceptive, you might even notice some of the verbal acts I’m going to talk about below. These are ways to establish your force on the group, to show you are a worthy cog in that machine that people seemingly rely on for the continuing function of that groups’ social atmosphere.
Chime In Early
When joining any kind of social group, you should be making the effort to say something of value early on in your arrival to the conversation. This signals your imposition onto the conversation, that you are now a part of it, what they don’t know yet is that you’ll soon be dominating it. Make sure you make your voice is heard upon your arrival to show you are an important addition to the group.
Avoid blending into the group and not contributing for extended periods, this is perceived as the behaviour of someone who either has no concept of self-worth, no confidence in the value they could add, or both. As we talked about in mental dominance, this is not the type of person you want to be.
Interrupters Should Be Shunned
There are two parts to this rule which are both of equal importance.
Firstly, do not let interruptions affect your words. Your words are too valuable to be stopped in their tracks by anyone, remember that you are the centre of your own attention and in your mind you matter the most. So if you find yourself halfway through a sentence and someone attempts to speak, consider them non-existent at this point and continue, even if it makes the message difficult to hear. The bottom line is that this portrays your words and the effort put into those words as of genuine value with nothing stopping them in their path.
Secondly, I implore you to implicitly shun anyone who interrupts your words. This sounds harsh and malicious but isn’t nearly as aggressive as it sounds. Begin by not acknowledging their contributions to the conversation, implicitly giving a lower value to their words by not entertaining them. Don’t outright ignore them as this could be percieved by others as you being irritated, instead, aim for indifference. Once this person has proven themselves to you by refraining from repeating their past behaviours, you can then slowly begin accepting the value of their words again.
Ask the Questions
He who asks the questions controls the conversation.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but by posing questions to the group, you limit their next conversational move according to your own desire. Steer the conversation wherever you like by asking a question that naturally returns to you the answers you want. This can be a great way to push an already verbally dominant participant off their pedestal.
Once you know enough about the group, you can use a well-timed question to elicit controversial answers which divide people and stir a microcosm of unrest. This is where you stay away from either side’s extreme and watch them play with the cards you’ve dealt them.
Nothing shows that someone has lost control, and therefore, respect, more than an emotional outburst. Do not get emotionally involved with your own words or others’, no matter what the conversation topic is about. By remaining detached, you hide any chinks in your armour that someone could use against you to thwart your dominant position. Whatever happens, stay calm and composed, exhibiting an aura of control.
While a defensive strategy, this can also be used as an offensive weapon should you find yourself in an implicit or explicit confrontation. Find the opponent’s thumbscrew and twist it to your heart’s desire to irritate them, while you remain zen, both on the inside and out. If your opponent becomes increasingly angered through your subtle irritation, they’ll lose respect from the group by behaving like a child having a tantrum.
Become the Everyman
With practice, you can become the type of person who can enter any conversation and apply verbal dominance to get what you want. As socialising by nature is very volatile, you should already know that there’s no silver bullet and sometimes you won’t be able to pull the strings in such a way to get what you desire. However, by having a verbal dominance outlook you can demand respect from others by showing the value you attribute to your words, and demonstrate why others should also attribute value to them.
Whether you decide to apply verbal dominance in a constructive or destructive way is entirely up to you, but remember that one wrong move can have the whole setup come crashing down upon you.
What we’ve discussed above barely even scratches the surface of full verbal dominance, there are many different applications of these methods that change in nature depending on your situation. It is your responsibility to research this in more depth, and more importantly, to experience these phenomena occurring in the real world to fully grasp them.