One subtle but effective Negotiation technique is to create mental movement through physical movement. It’s a particularly helpful way to break deadlock. Try taking the other party for a walk, a coffee, or even meet in a different room. Stand up and walk to the window. You’d be surprised at how well this can create a shift in attitude or position in your opponent.
So this Blog has been consciously planned to be written whilst flying at 30,000 feet. It’s my little experiment into whether this new environment produces a mental shift in the way I think as I write this Blog. I’m curious to know whether it helps me to see things in a new way if I am looking down on beautiful clouds and can see the Manhattan skyline from above.
My son James will probably have a view on this, having completed his first Skydive over the Blue Mountains near Sydney this weekend. He went to Australia to find himself: I wonder what he learnt at 14,000 feet as he was sitting with his feet kicking against the plane fuselage, waiting to hurl himself out? One of his thoughts was “If I die, I die”, apparently! Not long after which he had a life changing experience on the way down.
It certainly helps to keep things in perspective. We live next to a farm, and 3 very interesting large black chickens have materialised this year. They have the freedom of the farm, and have taken to wandering down the lane recently. This weekend one of them found its way into our garden, where my wife devotes many hours to creating a joyous, well planned and highly maintained haven which is her pride and joy. Chickens do not know the difference between a celandine and a clematis, and the potential for conflict here is obvious, methinks. Do we want to have to turn our garden into a chickenproof fortress?
Do we want to ask the farmer to keep his hens locked up during the day? No. Is this a Win/Lose conflict issue? Potentially.
Or so I thought. Hang on a minute. Let’s see the bigger picture, said he gazing out at the curvature of the Earth. Let’s think Win/Win. This will require some Creativity. How can both parties get what they want here? Maybe we could lend him the spare chicken fencing we bought last year so he can create a chicken run on his own land? Maybe he could let them out in his barns, which would be much more interesting to the hens than our garden? Maybe he has some other ideas if I go and talk to him, which I will do as soon as I get back. Thank you British Airways, that’s been helpful.
So yes, it’s official, physical movement produces mental movement. Which is why I enjoy walking alone with Rufus, our irrepressible Cocker Spaniel so much. I have many of my best ideas then, and I’m sure you do too when you’re running or swimming or whatever you do to keep your sanity. Recognising this and planning to do it more consciously seems like a good idea to me. A perfect excuse to do more of what you know works, and which you enjoy at the same time. Now that really is Win/Win!