The Elephant in the Room, Trust, and the Power of Naming


In discussions and negotiations, there's often an unspoken issue lurking in the background, like an elephant in the room. It's that uncomfortable truth or potential objection that everyone knows is there but no one wants to address directly.

Consider a courtroom scenario: in a rape case, the defense may preemptively acknowledge the jury's potential biases. They might say, "You're gonna hate this guy. You're gonna wonder if it's her fault. You're gonna question why she got drunk and went back to his place." By naming these potential prejudices upfront, the defense gains some control over the narrative and diffuses the tension.

This concept applies outside the courtroom too. Imagine you're about to deliver bad news or discuss a contentious issue. Naming the elephant in the room—acknowledging the uncomfortable truth before diving into the discussion—can pave the way for a more productive conversation.

For instance, in a real estate sales scenario, you might say, "Ever heard of trust surveys? Politicians scored a big fat zero. Guess who beat them? Real estate agents with a whopping 1%! Looks like we're inching towards honesty, one percent at a time!"

"So, I know estate agents have got a bad name when it comes to trust, so you're probably gonna think that. But hey, every percentage point counts, right?"

By naming the elephant in the room, and in this case adding a touch of humor you acknowledge the potential objections upfront, allowing for a more open and honest conversation thereby gaining trust.


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