7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say
By Dr. George J. Thompson
7. “HEY YOU! COME HERE!”
Consider, you are responding to a call and you see someone suspicious you want to talk with. Naturally you would say, “Hey you! Come here!” Verbal Judo teaches us that “natural language is disastrous!” and this provides a wonderful example. You have just warned a subject that they are in trouble. “Come here” means to you, “Over here, you are under my authority.” But to the subject it means, “Go away-quickly!” The words are not tactical for they have provided a warning and a possible loss of helpful information regarding a fire or other situation. Instead, walking casually in the direction of someone you want to talk to and asking, “Excuse me. Could I chat with momentarily?” is polite, professional, and calm.
Also notice you have gotten in close, in their “space” though not their “face.” You are now too close for them to back off.
The ancient samurai knew never to let an opponent pick the place of battle for then the sun would always be in your eyes! “Come here” is loose, lazy, and ineffective language. Easy, but wrong. Tactically, “May I chat with you” is far better, for not only have you picked the place to talk, but anything the subject says, other than yes or no-the question you asked-provides you with intelligence regarding their emotional and/or mental state.
Point: Polite civility can be a weapon of immense power!