Since this is a Dummies guide let’s start from the very beginning.
Define Derailing a Conversation….How do people use Derailing tactics in their conversations?
In any group conversation or group discussion there will always be sub groups of people who will align with your line of thinking and ideology and agree or like what you are saying.Most likely,there will be another sub set of people who have different perceptions and ideology and experiences than you and your support group share.They may come from a different background and they may have completely opposite experiences about the things you are talking about in your discussion.Eventually one of a person from your opposing group may get offended or feel unhappy about something you say and may interfere with your conversations.
If you ever give them an inch and let them talk they will go to any length to humiliate you in front of your sub group and make you frustrated.
These People use the ‘Derailing a conversation tactics’ as a skill or Tool to put Duct tape on their opponent’s mouth and make them feel small in front of the Group.A well executed derailment can earn appreciation from the members of the opponent Sub Group also and may make the members of the speaker’s sub group consider them as their leader.
If you don’t understand parts of what i told above you will get clarity once you listen me explaining the real life scenarios where powerful people apply their new skill of ‘Derailing a conversation’ with real examples.
You are put in to a Group discussion where the candidates have to talk against or supporting a social issue.The Interviewers are seated to watch the gladiator in you getting eaten by the hungry tigers.You take the lead and start the Conversation and have some people nodding in support of your views when you hear a fierce voice interfering your train of thoughts.It’s some one from the opposing sub group who was offended by something you said or just another candidate trying to grab your job from your reach.If you don’t take the sword of ‘Derailing Conversations’ and use it on your opponent they are going to make you a spectacle and run away with your job.The Trick is to silence your opponent artfully and gracefully without inviting further uprisings from others ,else Ceaser watching over the match will be giving you a thumbs down and you may go home empty handed.
You are the Team leader and you are Suggesting your Plan of action for the Management’s Problem and one of your team member questions your Plan and is about to Pitch his own Plan.
Worst case scenario-You lose the grace of the Management and the Team member becomes your Leader.
Best case scenario-You Derailing the Conversation with Tone Policing and entertaining the Management all the while
So what is Common in all the above Real life scenarios?
There is your Opponent you have to silence and there is also a higher authority who is overseeing you.You not only have to Derail the conversation and trivialize your opponent but also have to do it subtly without letting the Management or higher authority Interfere.
By ‘Derailing a conversation’ what we mean really are ways to detract,silence,belittle, devalue ,deprecate,decry the validity of a statement by attacking the tone or person rather than the message.
Derailing or Tone Policing can be effectively done if you have higher authority and you are in the privileged group.To explain this Point let’s say you are talking with your town people about the visitors from the neighboring spoiling your town’s safety.If there is a particular person who originally came and settled from the neighboring town in the group he may get offended and may argue against your argument.In this scenario the Opponent is having lesser advantage and you are in a Prevailed position because you have the home crowd support.
Examples of derailing conversations:
Let’s say a group of male and female friends are engaged in a group discussion about feminism where the ladies are talking highly about the need for it and the men in the group talking against it.You in the group talk supporting the women and another member uses the Geek feminism technique to silence you by saying “You are supporting feminism just to impress women/score with women” .This tactic is so destructive that the very women you supported may end up giggling and trying to control their grin and you may end up feeling embarassed.