Communication


This is from a comment I posted to another journal to do with general negotiation within a relationship context. It’s pretty much standard negotiation skills.

Successful communication depends on a fair amount of planning beforehand.

However, this in turn depends on knowing what you want from a relationship (without regarding the other person’s desires or second-guessing them). This may sound selfish but is essential as a foundation for pretty much all communications in the future. It doesnt have to be too detailed and ideally you would both want the same thing. For eg: I want a reliable lover who places minimum demand on my time and energy.

Then, it’s a matter of outlining the objectives of the conversation. It may be useful to actually highlight this objective before the conversation so that your partner isnt hit from out of the blue about an issue and has some time to prepare. For eg: I want to convince my lover that he is calling me too often and that he should only call once a week. Mind, some objectives are healthier than others. An example of an unhealthy objective is “I want to make my partner feel like the miserable worm he is”.

Setting out your objectives clearly also then gives you the opportunity to review how realistic your objective is and allow you to assess the likelihood of success.

If it’s tricky, you may want to outline a fallback position to yourself which you wont budge from. For eg: “sms is acceptable more than once a week”. In line with this, having a clear idea of what you would do if you dont achieve your objective is essential. For eg: “If i dont get what i want, i’ll suggest a cooling off period and a further meeting two weeks down the track.”

With those in mind, you can then decide on the negotiation strategy to achieve those objectives. For eg: “i will list all the times he has called too often and the impact it has on me.” This may also include acceptable tradeable items in order to achieve your objectives.

Other tips include knowing when to step away. For example, If I get angry or if he starts to shutdown (or raise his voice), I’ll suggest a timeout of an hour or so and set another time to talk about it later.

Another tip is having a good debrief activity after the talk is completed. Something to reward both of you for good communication – for example a nice dinner out.

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