No Sledging Please

You need to take care not to sledge people when you facilitate.

(Sledging is a sporting term in Australia.  I believe the US equivalent may be 'trash talk', but I could be wrong.  There are sure to be similar terms in other languages.  Sledging is when you talk in a nasty way to someone, often to cause them to lose their self-control and make mistakes.  Sledging is often passed off as joking; but I think this is overly generous when it is used in situations where 'losing your cool' can result in losing or failing.)

I believe that sledging while facilitating or in any kind of presentation situation is a sign of nervousness.  A case may be made for it being linked to low self-esteem, under-preparation or unmitigated disaster.  However, in each of these situations there are more functional ways of acting.

My admonition to take care not to sledge people when you facilitate seems pretty obvious, but many times we sledge the person who is most vulnerable at the time.  No, I'm not talking about the participant in the wheelchair, or the one with the speech defect, or the one who has verbal diarrhoea.  No, I am talking about you.  You are the most vulnerable person, as you are in no position to defend yourself once you start, and once you start, your nerves may push you to escalate the sledging.

So don't start.  And if you catch yourself doing it, stop.