TRUST AND TRUTH
If one is to have success in communicating in a convincing manner, one must change one’s mode of thinking about dispute prevention and resolution from negative to positive, from adversarial to problem solving. The importance of using truth and therefore developing trust results in making one’s statements credible. The process of persuasion is one of selling your ideas, and trust is evidenced by the making and keeping (performance of) agreements.
PREPARATION & NEGOTIATION
Preparation is an important part of persuasion if one is to be successful. To not prepare for negotiation is like jumping into a plane and taking off flying without filing a flight plan, or going on a walk on an unknown trail without taking a compass, much less not looking over a map of the area before leaving.
In preparation for negotiation, good advice is given in the writings of Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project. Fisher & Ury’s 1981 book “Getting to Yes” suggests a four-fold approach:
(1) Focus on interests (which usually do not change) rather than on positions (which usually do change, depending on the circumstances);
(2) Separate people (involving the emotions and the prejudices) from the problem, which is the important focus;
(3) Develop mutually acceptable options for solving the conflict, keeping in mind one’s own BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement”; and
(4) Use objective criteria in evaluating the options suggested for resolving the conflict.
Ten years later, Mr. Ury came out with a follow-up book, “Getting Past No”, which suggested five additional skills to use in negotiation:
(1) Don’t react to accusations – get above the turmoil and emotion;
(2) Don’t argue – avoid the adversarial and attempt to work with the other party;
(3) Don’t reject proposals outright – instead, reframe them;
(4) Don’t “push” (coerce) proposals – rather build on mutual interests; and
(5) Don’t escalate the temperature of the dialogue – rather educate and compare to one’s BATNA.
BASIC ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
The basic elements of communication are also important. The order of the elements
related to speaking are as follows:
(1) Non-verbal body language (the most important);
(2) Non-verbal tonality of voice (second in importance);
(3) Verbal spoken language (third in importance);
(4) Congruence of language; and
(5) Blocks to communication.
The basic element in terms of listening is active listening (stop, look, listen).
An additional basic element in communication is attitude, preferably one of problem