Here’s a Q about responses to taboo topics. Have you ever been seated at a table, perhaps at a business luncheon or a conference, when someone starts talking politics or gun-laws, something TABOO, and you realize people are literally squirming in their seats? 

awkward - image unsplash Baptista Ime James
image unsplash Baptista Ime James

What do you do?  That’s exactly what we’re focusing on here. Read on to learn:

  • The significance of CONTEXT when it comes to taboos
  • 4 RESPONSES – things you can do when someone starts talking taboo

Let’s do this!


RESPONSES TO TABOO TOPICS: CONTEXT IS KEY

What’s considered taboo depends on CONTEXT, as the time in history, the generation, the person, the setting, even the medium.

  • Time in history: Consider how racism evolved from being a taboo topic altogether, to being something that is commonly and explicitly discussed. (Other previously taboo topics: living together or having a child outside of marriage, keeping your maiden name, sexuality and particularly LGBTQ+,…)
  • Generations & people: Consider what’s sacred to talk to our kids about vs. what’s sacred in conversations with our parents. 
  • The setting:  Consider what’s sacred to talk about at work versus what’s sacred in conversations at the dinner table.
  • The medium: We might feel more comfortable reading or listening, and less comfortable talking about taboos (see below: “I WAS RIGHT…”)

hands up   hands up
images unsplash @ CDC & @action vance
YES! Context is Key!


4 RESPONSES TO TABOO TOPICS

Back to our original context.  You’re at a formal luncheon.  Someone starts talking TABOO and people start squirming. 

awkward
image unsplash @ bernard hermant
What do you do? 

You have 4 main choices:

1️⃣SMILE & NOD…

  • That’s it.

2️⃣CALL IT OUT

  • As my teenage son does so well. He exclaims, AWWWWk-ward !!!”
  • Ask, “is everyone is ok talking about this?”  Talk about the fact that it is taboo, as opposed to talking about the taboo topic itself. This is a great way to diffuse things.

3️⃣LISTEN & LEARN

  • Play a game with yourself.  Listen.  Challenge yourself to fully understand others’ perspectives. 
  • Ask Qs.  Learn.

4️⃣CHANGE THE SUBJECT

  • Be the catalyst who changes the subject! I recommend this one when someone else in the room is seriously offended by the topic.
  • Talk about this podcast! (“Hey, this conversation reminds me, I just listened to this great podcast episode on Taboo topics….”)

 


I WAS RIGHT…

Podcast downloads are UP over the past week!  It seems I was right – people don’t want to talk about TABOO topics, but they do want to read and LISTEN.


Talking TABOOS !

If you haven’t listened yet, ENJOY THE PODCAST!

🌐 Click HERE to listen directly on the Talk About Talk website

or

🎧 Click HERE to listen on your favourite podcast player

or 

📄 Click HERE to read the printable shownotes

 

Please forward this email to anyone who might like to learn about TABOOS and COMMUNICATION SKILLS. 

Thank you! 

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

 


Talk About Talk 🎧Podcast Episodes focused on specific taboo topics:


Most Recent 🎧Podcast Episodes:  


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