Stop blaming the communications!

How often have you heard, “Oh, sorry I didn’t mean to say that.” “I’m sorry I misunderstood,” and “They should have been more clear”?

Whether we look at communications in our organizations, with our clients, in our community, with our friends or our families, a good part of our daily communications are essentially negotiations. We negotiate more often than we realize. We’re social animals and as such we’re interdependent. We need to negotiate through the maze of our constant needs, whether in our professional or personal life, in order to survive and thrive. But we fail to see it as such; as a result our best communications often go astray.

Yes, communication is the vehicle for negotiation, but it’s not necessarily negotiation. The fact that you are a good driver does not mean you know the map and you won’t get lost. A coherent and clear communicator is not necessarily a good negotiator. Communication is simply the sharing of information and ideas, but when there is an expectations -explicit or implicit – for exchange for goods, services or behavior it becomes negotiation. Even the concept of Non-Violent Communication, which expands the communication perspective, is not negotiation. Every negotiation has a roadmap (to insure we fulfill that expectation) and unless we systematically approach it, the chances of optimum results are low to none.

Communication, even though important, is only one of the Eight Laws of Enlightened Negotiation. If we do not approach our interactions and negotiations from this holistic perspective and do not engage all the laws, there is no blueprint towards successful/productive interactions or negotiations.