Words can have a powerful impact. The language we use also provides some clues and insight about the individuals on our own negotiation team. Unraveling these clues can tell us a lot about our counterpart in a negotiation, and can even lend some introspection into our own psyche along the way. Understanding these cues entails acute listening. Listening to the language used is also a valuable tool for the mediator or the third party who is trying to find a negotiation conflict resolution.
The particular area of dialogue we are going to examine in our business negotiation examples is the use of metaphors; how they apply to a negotiator or might impact our negotiations. Webster’s Dictionary defines a metaphor’ as a figure of speech in which a name or quality is attributed to something which it is not literally applicable, e.g. an icy glance, or nerves of steel. A metaphor is often used in framing a dispute or situation, or the means by which we address or approach a negotiation problem. Often, the metaphors used in business are at the core of how a person perceives the situation and suggests how they might react or respond.
We can use the other person’s use of metaphors to “hear” what they are really saying, as well as to understand their true thoughts or feelings. What are some examples to illustrate the following areas.
GAMES OR SPORTS metaphors:
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING metaphors:
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