Sunday 6 November 2011


Today I went to a workshop on negotiation skills.  It was a workshop that I helped organize, with an outside speaker named Ron Thiessen.The topic was negotiation, taught over two sessions.  Today's session was the groundwork and began with effective communication.

One takeaway

There were a number different points that I felt were valuable and insightful.  They were points that I felt were showing me something important about myself but that I hadn't considered before.  Points about listening, about perception, about confidence, about not being something you're not when you're negotiating a position.  But one that I found really interesting that I wanted to share was just a snappy little life lesson that sounds a bit cliche when said out loud, but holds an important truth:
  • People will not remember what you say.

In a year nobody remembers exactly what was said at a lecture, in a conversation.  There might be a few key ideas they'll walk away with if they're catchy or poetic enough, but by and large people forget.
  • People will not remember what you do.

This might take a little longer to forget, but as time goes by, exactly who did what in a situation starts to blur too.
  • People will remember how you made them feel.

I think this one stuck with me because it revealed to me an aspect of how I interact with people.  I started to think about how many of my conflicts were caused not by ideological differences but by emotional ones and how much trouble I had making any sense of them.  I similarly thought of how many of my successes were based not on what I had said or done to people but how I made them feel. 

On the other side of the coin, how I feel about people says a lot about how I interact with them.  With most people I can't pinpoint exactly why I like or dislike them unless I sit and think about it.  But my willingness to trust them, hear what they have to say, or work with them often hinges more on feeling than specific reasons.  I imagine it's similar for almost everyone.


Roddy Doucet said...

That is a quote from Maya Angelou:

and it is also a great way to start a seminar on conflict resolution: which I did yesterday. Which is why it caught my eye.

Nathan Williams said...

Good stuff. Thanks for the source, Roddy!

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