I recently attended a conference where an expert started his presentation with a photo of a toilet up on the big screen. What?!? Of course, it grabbed our attention. But it also made a serious point, as the speaker – Chris Graham – noted in “the part about toilets” that “people tend to overestimate their understanding of the world by confusing their personal experience with deep understanding.”
We all know how toilets work, right? But how many could take it apart and fix it without a deeper understanding of its inner workings.
Graham’s presentation, “Why People Say ‘No’ to Good Ideas and How to Change Their Mind,” made many salient points related to negotiation. In relation to this overestimation point based on personal experience, he noted that “this is why people get defensive when you tell them they’re wrong (even when they really are wrong).”
His recommendation (with which I agree) – “instead of being critical of people’s understanding, be curious about their understanding using questions like:
· Tell me more about that?
· What’s a specific example of your concern?
Then move on to “are you open to the possibility that …”
Here are a few more cogent negotiation-related points Graham made (along with a few of my own thoughts in the parentheticals):
· How you think about a person affects your ability to engage with that person (so don’t be adversarial if you truly want to effectively interact);
· The other person has to make up their own mind (so give them this opportunity);
· Thinking about your audience includes thinking about their potential objections (so step into their shoes and address their concerns early on); and
· Discuss how your idea affects the other person’s interests (not their positions).
Latz’s Lesson: Graham is 100% right when he says that “once a person knows you’ve heard them, it’s much easier for them to hear you.” That opens up the possibility to changing their mind.
* 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.