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When Negotiating Becomes an Act of Courage

Jan. 6, 2017

Almost every interaction between humans is a negotiation and almost every negotiation can be an act of courage, according to author and speaker Misha Glouberman.

Whether it is a pilot’s communication with a dispatcher, or a technician’s communication with an aircraft operator, Glouberman defines negotiation as the process by which people make decisions together. So, how can a negotiation become an act of courage?

“If you start your negotiation from a position of fear, you’ll try to protect what you have and stop anything bad from happening,” Glouberman said. “If you’re so frightened of something bad happening, you can’t really have a useful conversation.”

Glouberman said he focuses on three major concepts when discussing negotiations, but points to them as strengths in any conversation:

  • Make the shift from discussing positions to discussing interests. When you stop talking about your position and start seeking points of common interest, Glouberman said the negotiation moves beyond surface disagreements and begins to concentrate on the underlying issues that matter.
  • Think not only about the substance of the negotiation, but also about the relationship. “Many inexperienced negotiators make the mistake of obtaining a short-term win at the expense of the trust and amity that’s needed for a long-term relationship,” Glouberman said.
  • Never underestimate the importance of listening. Listening does not come naturally to us, he said. We are much more apt to stake out a position in a negotiation than we are to exchange ideas.

“Being able to listen takes courage,” Glouberman added. “You need to put aside your own beliefs and entertain the possibility you might be wrong.” Listening is being willing to stop protecting your position in a discussion, to stop protecting that at the expense of the relationship you are developing, he said.

Glouberman will expand on these ideas during a session at the 2017 NBAA Leadership Conference, set for Feb. 14-16 in Miami, FL. With “Strength and Courage” as the theme of the event, education sessions will focus on having the courage to break through, leadership courage as a way of life and much more.

Learn more about the NBAA Leadership Conference.