As I begin my endeavor of writing a three or four-part blog on Interest Based Negotiations for the My Collaborative Team newsletter, I have been re-reading “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fischer, William Ury and Bruce Patton. They begin a section on Communication with the following:
“Without communication there is no negotiation.”
Let’s keep in mind that two of the problems oftentimes leading to divorce are poor or misunderstood communications and lack or loss of trust. And now we throw four professionals into the mix. Communication is never easy, even between people who have similar values and have shared a portion of their lives together. It isn’t surprising therefore to find poor communications amongst people who do not know each other well.
Fischer, Ury and Patton discuss three big problems in communication. First is that the negotiators are not really communicating to each other but are talking to impress third parties or their own client. The second problem is that people don’t listen and the third is that people misunderstand.
The authors offer these solutions. Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said; talk to the other side to be understood; speak about yourself, not about them; and speak for a purpose.
I would offer up three other solutions in the Collaborative Process. Share your concerns with your team keeping lines of communication open. As much as we may misunderstand what we hear, we certainly can’t see emotion or inflection in writing. Pick up the phone and talk about it! And finally, be willing to accept constructive criticism and apologize when you are wrong. People will listen better to people they respect.