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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 07-May-10


Friday 07-May-10

Non-stop negotiation

I was walking to work this morning and noticing how, as we walk along we are in a non-stop series of negotiations with other people as we somehow manage to navigate the rush-hour throng without constantly bumping into other people.

Consider how you avoid another pedestrian. From a collision course, each person signals their intent by either turning slightly or maybe not turning ('I expect you to get out of my way!'). If both turn then another collision may be imminent so both may turn again or wait for the other. If I see a collision coming I often stop dead and let the other person figure out what to do to get around me. I've never had

The same pattern applies to crossing the road, albeit more hazardously. I see a car coming, the car sees me stepping off the pavement, and somehow we manage to miss one another. This is particularly true in London where I often walk. In other places it seems as if the pedestrian is expected to get out of the way, running and diving as necessary, but in London the taxis and other professional drivers stay relaxed and pedestrians don't worry too much about being run over as they cross the road.

This pattern continues into other areas of life. How often, for example do you silently negotiate in conversations about who speaks when? Issues of power, fairness and need are resolved through action rather than explicit discussion.

As a general persuasion point this is worthy of reflection. If you can consciously navigate what are normally subconscious negotiations then you can become a lot more successful at changing minds

Your comments

 Wow! A mind I can relate to. I live in the US and have noticed these types of rules change from state to state. I have been to 5 different countries and have noticed how people "negotiate" the sideways and roadways. My intention thus far has been to observe and learn, for more survival motives. However, I haven't made this correlation between this observation and how we verbally negotiate our way in the world. This insight on your part will help me as I am always working on how I relate to the world and people. Thanks, Dave

-- Hummingbird

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