How to Communicate and Negotiate in Life to Better Effect

We all use negotiation constantly in our communications. Starting as children we quickly learn that if we promise to be good we gain some advantage or positive result. That understanding is often quickly transferred to our other relationships, where we learn the value of trading. We give something the other person wants in return for some benefit to ourselves.

Children quickly learn to be quiet in return for sweets. That is the fundamental tenet behind every negotiation, a win/win situation for all concerned. The fact that the child may manipulate the situation when they want more sweets may have to dealt with by using penalty clauses and riders as time goes on. The negotiator too has to learn how to trade.

As an adult the art of skillful negotiation is in learning to trade something that we are not too concerned about losing. The skill is in treating it as if it is really important, as if it really matters to us. We create in the other person a sense that are we are making a huge contribution to the negotiation process by allowing a particular concession to be made.

When the other person feels that they are gaining an advantage they are more likely to relax their guard and become more flexible. When they feel that they are gaining ground they will often decide that it is reasonable to make some concessions to the negotiations. They are more likely to feel the need to reciprocate, as a gesture of good faith on their part.

A good negotiator treats the other person with respect. Good manners are a large part of being good at the job. A person who is calm, poised and polite will appear to be in control, measured and clear as to what they are doing. They will instill in the other person a sense of confidence.

Meeting someone halfway is a good negotiation technique. In daily life, we will all have had times when we have been in a group or with a friend and have had to decide where to go for a social evening. Negotiation can be required in these situations. We may decide to take it in turns as to where to go, or decide to go somewhere completely different as an alternative option. The skill is in being respectful and flexible, is in appreciating that each point of view has its own validity and importance.

In acrimonious couples counselling I sometimes say to my clients ‘you may win the argument, but lose the relationship’. Being pedantic and inflexible may ensure that you get what you want as an outcome in the short term, but in the longer term it may be a massive price to pay. Appreciating that each person has reasons for their opinions, feels justified in holding the view that they have, can bring some sense of perspective to the counselling process.

Effective communications are about trying to clearly understand what each person is saying, what they are hoping to achieve and how the different sides of the discussion can find resolution and compromise. Negotiation is a valuable process to apply. By trading, giving ground and feeling to gain some positive results or compromise each side can feel that they are successfully making headway and achieving a better relationship into the bargain.

The Past, Present and Future of Technology’s Evolution

In today’s world, computers, tablets and Smartphones run our lives. In a short amount of time, the explosion of technology in the market has many people never imagining their lives without it. In order to understand how we came from the dark ages to where we are today, we should first understand the evolution of technology. Most of today’s technologies were born out of purpose. Search engines are a good example, they were created to sort out the huge amounts of online data. Every new upgrade of a technology creates something that was better than before.

Every time this happens, technology evolves and has become the thing that is essential today. Future new technologies come from ideas that get compounded to form new technologies. Technologies that exist today evolve into more powerful technologies that they were before. With the speed at which technology is evolving, it is no wonder why people are struggling to keep up. The following is an overview of how fast technology and the internet have evolved in just the past few years.

The Past

As recent as the 1990s, the internet was a new commodity that some businesses and homes had. People at that time remember the painfully slow sound of the dial-up signal as it connected to the internet. As more people saw the value of having internet access, technology once again stepped up to eliminate the use of a phone line to access the internet with an even faster way to connect to the World Wide Web. This advance also caused websites to advance and suddenly everyone had either a Tripod or Geocities website all of their own.

About this time, the blogging craze took off on the consumer level. This allowed the sharing of information to become much easier. Rather than handing over a floppy disc or CD-ROM, more people started to email documents or store larger files on a USB drive. With the advance of new technologies popping up, they would compound and form a stronger, faster and better technology. As this technology developed, it changed the way people operated, worked and coincidentally live today.

The Present

Since the 1990s, internet access has popped up nearly everywhere. It is rare to find a place of business, library, or coffee shop without access to a Wi-Fi signal. Even without a Wi-Fi signal in close range, most people can still access the internet with their cellular device or Smartphone. Because of this anytime/anywhere internet access, many businesses have created web apps that will answer the consumer’s common needs. These apps or applications will do everything from sending huge amounts of information to tracking food portions with just the click of a button. One of the differences that is most noticeable with today’s internet is the ability to be personable in such an impersonal setting. It has been social media that has changed the way people engage with each other online.

Even though this form of communication is superficial, it has helped people remain close that may otherwise would have lost contact all together. Even face to face conversations are becoming easier because of web/video conferencing that has broken the barriers of geography. Now, businesses can communicate with customers in more of a human manner, people can have a face to face conversation without having to travel across the country, and people can reach out to others across the world in an easier and faster manner. With all the new technologies influencing how people access each other and information, the future looks promising.

The Future

Technology will allow work to be accomplished faster and easier, internet access will become faster and more streamlined. Devices like tablets and Smartphones will keep evolving to work together better.

Data between these machines will be shared automatically, which will limit the need for human involvement. More and more businesses and people will put themselves in the cloud or have everything stored online rather than on a single device. This will allow an enormous potential to change how business is done, how the traditional office will look and how companies and people will interact with each other on a daily basis. As technology continues to evolve, the world will change with it and create new ways of working together and new habits.

Focus on the Present – Do You Remember What ‘Now’ Feels Like For You?

No less than Abraham Maslow said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Here are some words associated with the present (in case you aren’t quite sure what that means): immediate, this instant, here and now, time being, today, nowadays, moment, now, in this moment, current… I don’t want to get too philosophical (far be it from me), but this moment is over… and we’re on to the next one. Oops that one is over. Next…oh, it’s over, too. Well, here comes another.

The present really is PRESENT – right now. This minute. Today. You can certainly expand it just a bit, but the gist of this is that many of us are missing a great deal of what is happening now because we are focused beyond or around and behind what is happening now.

Let’s get a few visuals for this concept – and use these to be reminded of some of your own.

  • First, think about when you have been at a party and you are talking with someone, but that person is forever looking beyond you, over your shoulder, to the back of himself, or essentially any other place but right into your eyes. How do you feel when that happens? Not too great. Of course, if we are doing that to someone else, they aren’t feeling very important and we are missing whatever it is that he or she is saying and the entire experience of that conversation.
  • A personal one occurred for me one morning several years ago when I was driving from Tonopah, NV to Goldfield, NV. It was about 6 a.m. I was not in a good mood. I was tired because my room had been noisy. I had eaten a dreadful breakfast. I was driving about an hour to the location for the workshop I was going to do and I knew that the conditions for this workshop were not going to be ideal…and I was worried about that. So, I was just generally grousing around in my head. But, then, I came around a corner and experienced what I have since found a name for – and that is aesthetic arrest. The beauty and majesty of this valley in these early morning hours – well, I don’t have the language to describe it. But I experienced an in-the-moment, moment. I was brought right back to NOW through that experience and everything else faded away.
  • One more example…and this is back when I was a professor. Now, as many of you know, I don’t have children and that’s by choice so you don’t need to feel sad for me. Anyway, I had been presenting at a conference in Louisville, traveled to Lexington to see my family and stayed at my brother’s house. At that time, he and his wife had three young children – maybe 7, 6 and 4. I had taken a bunch of work to do with me while I was there…because of course, I always had work to do being a faculty member. Alas…it was not to be. Here’s how I went back and told my graduate classes at the university about it the next week. I told them, “I get it. Those of you who say that you are having trouble finding time to study or to get your research done – and it’s because of your children. I get it. They demand, in the most positive way, attention now and as a human being, you happily give it to them.” So that was another, NOW experience for me.

I hope these make sense and help to illustrate the ‘present’ for you. Take some time right now (in the PRESENT) to see remember some of the times when you were ‘knocked back to now’ – and really understood about the present. I have no doubt but that you can come up with several.