George Bernard Shaw once said: “The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Even when negotiating partners share the same mother tongue, misunderstandings or difficulties can arise – with costly consequences. Language can mean different things and express different ideas to different people This can be even more difficult if those undertaking the negotiation do not share a mother tongue, as it occurs in ESL-negotiations (English as Second Language). Here, pitfalls are even more likely. With the help of an interpreter, language barriers can usually be overcome – but the use of a translator should still ensure they are well prepared.
Just about everyone you know tells low-stakes lies and let’s be honest, each one of us sometimes falls for a little white lie. Small lies are part of everyday life: several times a day we tell the untruth. Not every lie is morally reprehensible from a psychological point of view. We often want to spare somebody’s feelings or avoid disputes and conflicts. It is therefore a fact that our social interaction cannot work without lies. However, there are situations in which lies do not serve the social coexistence, but lead to the individual disadvantage of the deceived party.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally upon us. The greatest soccer players on the planet have taken the center stage in Russia. All over the world, matches are watched by millions of fans hoping to see their teams winning the popular trophy. In the end, it is not only the fitness and technique of individual players, but the strength and cohesion of the entire team that decides which team is going to win. Learning from the World Cup means learning to win. The star is the team and everyone knows what to do, where and when. A perfectly coordinated team has the quality to beat even teams with one or two superstars, that fail to coordinate their set-up. Everyone knows their tasks and their area of responsibility. But why do many negotiating teams fail to achieve their goals? And what makes some teams succeed, and others fail?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We have all heard this line before. So, true indeed. But it is the last impression we remember most. That also applies to negotiation situations. In every negotiation there are two pivotal moments. The beginning and the end of a conversation largely decide the success of the negotiation. Psychologically, the last impression is even more important than the first one. It is the last impression, which has a strong influence on someone’s judgement. Because no matter whether in a budget negotiation or when buying a new car – who cannot hold out until the end, negates his hard negotiating position. But how does one successfully end a negotiation?
Communications are shifting more and more into the digital world. Negotiations, too, are increasingly conducted by email. Many people find it easier to put their arguments in writing rather than in face-to-face, especially if it is emotionally charged. But do digital negotiations really improve the chances of success?
From its first birthday on, the blog’s articles will also be released in English for international readers at Negotiation-blog.eu
Berlin, 22 January 2018: For a year now, Verhandlung.blog-author Thorsten Hofmann analyses and comments on current political and economic negotiations. For its first anniversary, the project becomes international: from now on, all articles will additionally be published in English at Negotiation-blog.eu.
No twitter, no balcony, no media. Nothing of the grand coalition talks between CDU, CSU and SPD was supposed to be leaked to the public. Yet the agreed confidentiality did not last for long. Thorsten Hofmann is not surprised at all. In his interview with Handelsblatt, the negotiation expert explains, why the toughest opponent is always oneself.
Read the full article here (in German).
Ahead of the failed coalition talks between CDU/CSU, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Thorsten Hofmann analyzed the complex situation in several media appearances. The negotiation expert shed light on team constellations, strategies and the persons involved’s attribution of roles.
The 24th October is probably a day which is highlighted in a deep red in many calendars of political stakeholders in Berlin. At 11:00 o’clock, Wolfgang Schäuble – designated new presiding officer of the German parliament – is scheduled to open the inaugural meeting for the upcoming 19th legislative period. At least that’s currently the plan. Whether the actual coalition negotiations will have proceeded accordingly or will have started at all by that time remains to be seen.