The Art of Spinning a Conversation

One of the most challenging professions you can get into is the industry of Public Relations. The challenge isn’t necessarily a physical difficulty, but a psychological one. PR people, sometimes referred to as “Spin Doctors”, are responsible for preventing any type of damage to their client’s reputation. They possess the linguistical talent to sway you to believe whether something is right or wrong, powerful isn’t it.

For example, if a celebrity was arrested for drinking and driving, then it would be up to the spin doctor to persuade the public that it wasn’t the celebrity’s fault, it was because of all the pressure from the paparazzi that influenced this celebrity to alcohol addiction. The celebrity goes to a rehabilitation center and the blame is now turned around to the paparazzi, even though it was the celebrity who was drinking and driving in the first place. Just recently, after Kanye West’s little blunder, his “Spin Doctors” probably advised him to put the blame on his mother’s passing. It didn’t do that well, but it did take some heat off of his stupidity. Wait a few months and everyone will love him again.

Kanye West Spoof

Another great example is from the movie Thank You for Smoking. This is an awesome movie about a guy whose job is to defend the tobacco company’s reputation. Not an easy task, but he manages to do it.

Most of you reading this have no use to hire your own Spin Doctor, but learning how they do it can take you out of the most difficult of scenarios.

Never Directly Disagree

People will challenge your ideas, concepts, products, beliefs etc, but you should never directly tell them that they’re wrong. Here are some phrases to use when someone says something to you before you shift the conversation:

  • That’s a valid concern
  • That’s right
  • I agree
  • That’s true
  • I can appreciate that
  • you’re right
  • I understand
  • you’re absolutely right

Example 1:

Them: You have too little experience for me to give this job.
You: That’s a valid concern

So whatever it is the person is accusing you of, acknowledge it, repeat and then continue.

Starting your Spin

Here are phrases you need to use after you acknowledge them for what they said. These phrases will allow you to make a smooth transition from something pointed at you to persuading them to believe what you say is actually right:

  • So what I hear you saying is…
  • What I sense…
  • So if I understand correctly, you’re saying…
  • What I think your feeling is…
  • What I’m noticing you say is…
  • What it sounds like your saying is…
  • What it looks like your saying is…
  • I believe that you’re really trying to say…
  • Sounds like to me that you’re…
  • What I think you’re saying…

Example 2:

Them: You have too little experience for you to get this job.
You: That’s a valid concern and it sounds like to me that you’re looking for someone who will get the job done in the time you want it, aren’t you? Most of my clients feel that way too before they CHOOSE ME and give me the chance. If I can get this job done for you in X days, would that work for you?

In this example, you spun the conversation from them talking about you having little experience to getting the job they want done, faster.

Example 3:

Them: I’ve never heard of your company before
You: I understand and what I think your saying is that you’re looking to find the best deals possible right? As we talk about making this happen, I’m sure you starting to feel comfortable knowing that I’ll save you more money and the get the job done in less time, does that work for you?

In this example, you spun the conversation from them feeling insecure about your company’s reputation to feeling comfortable knowing that they will be saving money by choosing you.

Final Thoughts

You can’t control what other people say about you, your products, services, or company, but you can persuade them to change their mind.

Has there ever been a time when you needed to use this technique?

14 thoughts on “The Art of Spinning a Conversation

  1. MLDina

    Handling PR is difficult, especially in situations like the Kayne West/VMA speech and I'm sure, the tobacco industry. It takes a certain type of person to be able to handle the pressure and reputation behind such instances, but if you have a product you can stand behind and truly care about your client and customer, you can be a great success.

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  3. AJ Kumar

    Oh I agree with you, it's just hard when you make a lot of money doing what they do… I mean if you got paid millions of dollars to lie, would you do it?

  4. ishanvyas

    I am a 17 year old kid, reading your blog from around 2 weeks… this is an awesome post. This technique will not only helpful for pr people but would be helpful for every one in their daily life, instead on arguing on some topics we can use this method and convince people what they want.

  5. GetTheBest

    Want it done using the information at hand without lying then there is a man that can. A man used by some of the most affluent in America and England use or have used his talents and he has the highest of integrity. He will not entertain the underhanded. His most often used phrase is this; “I cannot change reality , but I can manipulate perception” If you can find him or talk to him and need this type of action or service or advice then contact him if you can. Good luck. Mark Taylor Ph. D. He as stated is one of the most difficult to contact , but once you do oyu have a life time friend and asset as he is extremely loyal

  6. GetTheBest

    Normally by referral, but if your in a spot and you are a person of character and integrity he does make exceptions, and has been known to perform for free. That is the caliber of person he is. Search hard enough online you will find him. Clue: Politics, Watergate, Political Orgs, and an Author, and I heard a Psychologist, maybe , not sure. If you do attempt contact simply state you have a situation you need to make sure the truth is out on before the wolves spread falsities and he will understand. I you get the wrong one then they want have a clue.

  7. GetTheBest

    He can also clear your name off the Internet and have derogatory info removed like no other I have seen.

  8. GetTheBest

    clue is in the email i used do not attempt contact to me using it , not mine. I did you a favor lol

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