Four years ago, I wrote a Negotiators Guide to Thanksgiving Conversations and eight years ago I wrote a column thanking negotiators for exhibiting certain effective traits that make all our negotiations better.
Here are three more effective negotiator traits to be thankful for – and that will help you interact in those occasionally challenging Thanksgiving discussions.
1. The Power of Active Listening
I have never been accused of being shy or introverted. But I have been accused of not listening. Fortunately, I have gotten better at this over the years. Here is some advice from an expert in Psychology Today that includes a practical list of how to effectively and actively listen.
Of course, there is always room for improvement here (as my wife tells me)!
2. Probably Not the Time or Place to Change the World
I believe we are living in a particularly challenging time with two wars, increasing tribalism and extremism, and a decreasing ability to effectively engage with so much knowledge transfer and communication taking place in untrustworthy and toxic online social media environments.
If you’re like me, and you feel very deeply about some of these issues, it may be tempting to use a gathering of family and friends to discuss all this.
Some families thrive on this type of engagement (mine did growing up). This can be appropriate, as noted in a New York Times opinions column this week, “Speak Up at Thanksgiving. Your Health Depends On It.” But other families – which is almost certainly the majority – prefer to not have these discussions at Thanksgiving.
Picking the right time and place to engage is crucial in negotiations. So be particularly sensitive to this dynamic. And when in doubt on this front – don’t engage. It’s not worth the possible downside risk. Your family and friends will thank you for it.
3. Bring a Positive Attitude to the Table
I have written several columns noting that a positive attitude and expectation increase the likelihood of accomplishing your negotiation goals. It would be great if you are really looking forward to Thanksgiving.
But some will inevitably be dreading it. If so, psych yourself up before you ring the doorbell. It might not transform your experience into the best gathering of the year. But it will help you and everyone else at the table, too.
Latz’s Lesson: Active listening, picking the right time and place to engage, and a positive attitude will help make your Thanksgiving a time to be thankful.
* Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation, a national negotiation training and consulting company that helps individuals and organizations achieve better results with best practices based on the experts’ research. He can be reached at 480.951.3222 or Marty@LatzNegotiation.com.