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.

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2 thoughts on “Handling Tough Situations or The Art of Compromise

  1. I like your advice about eye contact–not the popular wisdom (or is that an oxymoron?) and especially, about respecting differing opinions. I find we in NYC begin to assume homogenous viewpoints and link them to stereotypes far more than I remember in my rural midwestern youth. Just different stereotypes (a.k.a. not everyone who has differing views is a redneck).

    Though I’m pretty liberal, I can respect (most) people who oppose my views (now if only I can stop feeling compelled to say that I’m liberal?).

    I remember you from our shared seminar with Carole Hyatt, and can vouch for your acumen regarding style and grace. I’ll be back to your blog! Best,

  2. This is all great stuff, Sonya! You’re on one heck of a roll. I love your focus on juries – especially in this stunningly litigious time…CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxG.

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