Handling Tough Situations or The Art of Compromise

Now that you know about my blog and will be tuning in (often, I hope) I’d like to write from another aspect of what I care about— connecting with others personally, and making it work in today’s emailing non-talking world.

So here are some ideas about handling tough situations face-to-face… Might be a little long-winded but it has lotsa really good approaches. Check it out. They can really help…

Who doesn’t ever need to make compromises in their lives? Whether it’s little ones like where we go for dinner or big ones like changes in your workplace, how you do your job or negotiating deals, there’s an art to getting what you want, compromising and doing it with some grace and style.

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The key to handling difficult situations successfully—ones that need some giving and bending– is this: learn to think through not only what your goals and needs are but concentrate on what the other person’s issues and targets are. Aim for “How can both of us come out with wins instead of ending with ‘I win, you lose’ “. This not only gets you to a solution quicker; it guarantees you a solution that will stick, with both sides feeling good about the end product.

Here are some basic approaches that can get you there:

  • Begin with a question. Define the issue before you start attacking what may not be the basic problem. Question with real interest in the answer. It helps de-fuse situations that can become accusatory and adversarial. Everyone needs to feel they’re being heard.
  • See and hear the problem from both points of view before you go off with your version and your solution. You’ll be surprised to hear a very different version of what you thought the issues were. Gives you a much truer focus for a solution
  • Engage the other person in arriving at a solution, rather than just giving the solution yourself. Asking for his/her solution gives you a chance to hear that person’s goals and needs right away. That gives you a chance to see where yours and his/hers fit.
  • Explain the situation using “I” not “You”.I must not have explained that well”  instead of “You got that part all wrong”. Instead of accusing, you’ll keep the dialogue going.
  • Present and explain your side without making eye contact! Placethe issue figurativelyon a table between you— talk about that down there. Eye contact is too hot- creates defensiveness, not hearing and understanding.
  • Edit what you say. Get to the point first, then add a few details as examples. We all talk too much at the start and the main point is lost. Refer to what the other person already knows before adding your point of view.
  • Add another question if you feel you’re losing attention. Problems only get solved in a dialogue, not a monologue.
  • Respect the other’s position. Lighten the atmosphere with a smile, give some respect for the other’s passion and point of view, show a positive attitude toward a solution– goes a long way.

Bottom Line: It always takes two to tango. Both must stay actively involved in order for anything to work out well between folks.

Can You Ever Have Your Cake And Eat it Too?

Y’know, those old folk sayings– corny, trite, hooked in yesteryear? They last for a reason. They put the finger on an enduring human truth. Here’s the above adage about greed being played out today in a 3D media frenzy.

Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien were the cakes and NBC was the greedy and ill-fated owner/consumer.

How did they get into such a mess?  It started with evaluating their once and future audiences. “Jay’s OK now but 5 years from now? Gotta move the older guy and advance a younger one to capture those 18-49ers. (the prime TV market targets).”

NBC decides “We can have it all. Let’s make Conan the Prince of Wales. Then, owning Leno, we let the king slowly peter out and slip Conan right onto that throne, not missing a beat. And we even keep Leno too, in a new time slot. We can have it all (the cake, that is)!” So what happened? Jay kept doing fine with his mixed-age market. Conan fit in with his slotted audience too, but not with the other one.

The cake-eaters in the front office ate too much too fast. TV watchers knew what they liked. And didn’t. Leno and O’Brien fit into people’s needs exactly where they were. And those prophets in the front office? They need to borrow from another adage–“pull their heads out of the sand.”  Then go downstairs and find out how folks really think and act.  And boy, have they got the generations all wrong! More about them next time.

Response to David Finkel from the Huffington Post


Well done, David. You are indeed an understanding curmudgeon.

But there is indeed a problem with convincing people to let the words alone be the message. As I’ve researched and written about the differences between the generations, here’s the major stumbling block to get people to be sated by simply linear reading. Gen X and especially Gen Y are conditioned to learn visually- in short edited bursts of information. Computers also speak in mixed media -words and graphics- and make short shrift of most verbal messages. So these generations have learned to control time and how they take in information. The resultant impatience they’ve developed make long-term reading a chore. And there goes the pleasure.

With admiration and in agreement with your ideas—Sonya Hamlin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost