When I tell you that something is a “beatdown,” it’s a statement devoid of much meaning to most, because most have not ever had to sit through a 200 slide presentation created by the state law enforcement educational standards board. This board, apparently, brings into a single room career academics who detest one another and cops who detest academics and take the unfiltered, unedited work product, transcribe it and place it into Power Point presentations.
That is the only possible explanation for the creation of days like yesterday, in which we studied “Communication and problem solving.” You’d think that with a title like that, the presentation would communicate something about problem solving. Yet for hours we sat and listened to things like “The fourth component of the third sub-skill of “Being Pleasant” is to remember to make eye contact and smile, to assure the person with whom you are speaking that you are being pleasant.
I’m not kidding. Here is an excerpt, verbatim, from the deck. Not a single word has been added or omitted, and it is not missing any contextual clues (that is, yes, it starts with the phrase, apropos of nothing, “Supplemental Skill Set is…” :
Supplemental Skill Set is verbal communicating skills that will help you get along with a person so they are willing to explore and share information with you. These invaluable skills are the key to finding out what’s really going on in a situation. You can add to your understanding and action in ways that will help you defuse tension, decrease the chances of trouble and increase your ability to handle any and all situations more effectively. Showing a person that you understand their negative feelings can usually defuse those negative feelings. By responding to feelings at the verbal behavior level, you keep the person’s words from turning to destructive action.
Showing a person you understand their negative feelings can usually defuse those negative feelings?! Let’s take that for a little spin, shall we?
“Dat muthafukka done stole mah crack pahp cuz I was beatin’ his ho girlfrien’ yestaday cuz sheza skank bitch what owe me fukkin seven dollas.”
“Allright, If I understand you correctly, you’re feeling that your personal space was invaded, and the gentleman you just hit with a brick had deprived you of personal property and dignity, is this correct?”
“Yeah, man, shit, ah feel betta now, boss.”
Why, it does work! Here’s another verbatim excerpt:
The third sub-skill of listening is identifying intensity. How intense an expression (verbal or non-verbal) is perceived is based upon your subjective standards and the context in which it’s experienced. Obviously stomping and screaming may be relatively ignored at a sporting event, but given the same expressions of intensity in the lobby or during a roll call is quite another matter. As we become experienced and understand the context in which expressions are encountered, we learn how much energy to invest in particular situations.
I’m actually looking forward to getting tased on Wednesday – anything but more Communication and Problem Solving…Anything.
We heard this stuff yesterday for literally eight hours.