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I have a friend who has tried to get me to back off the way I approach people. Seeing things in black and white, right or wrong, truth or lies, efficient or substandard, makes that a difficult proposition to a person who sees data and logic, not necessarily human relationships.

But not long ago, I discovered that she was right.

I have to learn the lessons in a way that I understand. Then it will stick.

Parenting styles…

When I was becoming so frustrated with the grandchildren recently, I began to research different parenting styles.

Children learn child-rearing styles from the authority figures.

Some of those figures are kind, gentle, loving, patient, rarely raising their voices, but are strong and firm.

Others are mean honey badgers just waiting for the next time a child steps out of a preconceived line – which changes day-to-day, moment-by-moment.

And some are like me – perfectionists.

Then there are the majority who mix it up depending on their current circumstances and what frustrations they are dealing with at that time.


The art of parenting is a lot like negotiating. In fact, the authority figure does do a bit of negotiating at age appropriate levels.

Interacting with other people, first realize that you are not always right. Your opponent might have some subjective truth to their viewpoint.

Secondly, don’t brag about how good you are at interacting and leading others toward a positive goal. While your interaction may help to steer them to the right end, actions speak louder than words.

Thirdly, try to approach others in a way that connects with their way of looking at life. If you run out of approaches, or, like me, have problems thinking “outside the box”, ask someone you trust for ideas. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from others!

The idea of negotiating is to find common ground and work a plan around it. If there is no good relationship or allowance for feedback from the other parties, then it isn’t negotiating. It is dictatorial.

The art of negotiating…

When two or more people conduct negotiations, they are often faced with difficult impasses. Critical decisions must be agreed upon before a decision to move forward can be made.

One of the ways of negotiating is to use the “If…then…” statement.

“If we choose to build this program to track customer transactions, then we must secure safeguards on their personal information.”

“If we decide to drive down this dark road, then we should make sure we have a backup plan in case we get into a tight spot.”

Another way of negotiating is to use the “Either…or…” choices.

“Either we openly track customer transactions, or we address their privacy concerns.”

“Either we turn right down this dark alley, or we go straight through town in the lighted area.”

The offering of choices opens up the possibility of discussion. Just telling someone what to do without their input invites discord.

Draw conclusions from what is presented, and exemplify your point…

Another method to negotiate is to give demonstrations of a particular point of view, or, as Socrates did, take the discussion to its logical end. Then the decision to pursue the path chosen will be an open one. The choices will be made clear.

Exemplify your idea and show where following that direction potentially can lead.

And give options on how that can be achieved. Allow others to give their input as well.

Working together, the ability to develop a working format can come to pass.

Even if the other(s) don’t follow your desired path, the compromises can help to lead toward a common goal.

Authority figures and corporations…

Too many articles describe the art of negotiating as a battle of wits, with you as the ultimate winner. In order for you to win, you often have to either shut down your opponent, or manipulate their mindset so they agree with your side.

But a true negotiator wants to have the best of all collaborators to come together and agree to an outcome that involved all of their best ideas.

In society, if the mindset of everyone is following the leadership of someone or something that is intrinsically wrong, it takes the courage of only one person to change that course.

In corporations, often times a microcosm of society as a whole, pushes their will on the fabrication of seemingly good information to the public at large. Even using their employees as guinea pigs and ambassadors to the public to get their point across.

In either case, it can have a severe backlash against the individual or corporation.

Abraham Lincoln…

Abraham Lincoln once said that “You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

That is something many forget when trying to negotiate or even advertise to others. They try to fool all the people all of the time by suppressing certain critical details that could potentially change the desired outcome, or they try to obfuscate the information so the outcome will favor them.

We must be honest. And we must assure that what we intend is going to truly be in the best interest of everyone involved. And be transparent, not just say the words.

Open Debate and Negotiating…

That is why open debate is so important. When one side shuts down their opponent, then the oppressor falsely feels that they “won”.

But negotiating involves dialogue. That means both sides have a say in the conversation and ultimate outcome.

Without open discussions, there is no negotiating. And if there are no negotiations, then the only ones making the decisions are those who wield unjust power over everyone else.

That kind of tower of Babel never, in the history of mankind, stood the test of time. Someone will rise up and challenge the oppressor. And the tower always comes tumbling down.

In the end…

Ultimately, the end goal is to give the other person options and let them make a free will choice concerning their decision. Forcing one’s will on another person, no matter how young or old they are, it a sure way for your position to never be heard.

The longer you work, hang out, or live with someone, the one thing that should never be done is to cut out all means of communication. Without communication, there are no equitable resolutions.

Just like parenting. We each need to be heard. And we need to share input in the outcome and decision making process.

No matter how young or old, junior or senior we are in any setting.

That is a part of being human. That is how we preserve human dignity. By listening, sharing, compromising, agreeing.

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