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Julia Loughran, President, ThoughtLink, Inc.

There is truth to the phrase “Practice Makes Perfect” – and today about 15 women (and 1 brave man) got to perfect their skills at principled negotiation in Success In The City’s Astute Institute Event on “Resolving Workplace Conflict”.  The workshop, which took place in Reston, allowed participants to take on the assumed positions of business owners and employees as they role-played in simulated conflicts.  The workshop focused on some of the principles from the classic book on negotiation “Getting to Yes” and also provided insights on effective listening.

Some of the AHA! moments from the event are detailed below:

  • The group discussed how different negotiation can be when we negotiate with men vs. women.  Not to generalize, but the group felt men are often more direct in their approach and we can learn to appreciate these differences and apply different negotiation techniques depending on with whom we are negotiating.
  • When discussing tips on better listening skills – we were reminded the importance of not interrupting someone until they have finished their thoughts.  This is much easier said than done.  A suggestion was made to ask the other person if they would mind if you took notes while they talked.  This allows you to write down your ideas/counter argument and save it for when the other person has finished speaking.
  • One important tip from the book Getting to Yes is to focus on objective measures when in a negotiation.  By focusing on objective measures, it takes the conversation in a new direction that can help diffuse some of the situations that are highly emotional.
  • There were many great ideas and discussions brought out by these simulations – and it proved to me again that we can all improve our methods for communicating with others and ultimately get what we want and have our relationships come out of the event unscathed.

Kudos to Success In The City and the Astute Institute for offering such an exciting and interactive event.  I look forward to more!

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