No need to worry that people with whom you negotiate, try to persuade, or build consensus know the same interest-driven skills you do. Rather, you’ll benefit even more if your counterparts know and use these skills.

In Bridges to Consensus, I illustrated this with an example:

Mike, who is asked to pay for the church sign he backed over, makes snide remarks to Laurel, implying that she should have paid for the window she accidentally broke a few weeks before. Laurel feels insulted. Does all the time and money she has contributed to their church count for nothing? Doesn’t it matter that she broke the window trying to prevent a worse accident [by stopping a child running with a pair of scissors]? Why should her accident be treated the same as Mike’s carelessness, especially when he only makes a minimal pledge and never volunteers for anything?


…[O]thers may worry that people who know the skills, and recognize when we’re using them, might feel manipulated. Mike might have wondered, If I ask Laurel the open question, “What approach did they take in the case of your accident?” will she know I’m trying to persuade her of something? If so, will she resist or resent me?

But if Laurel understands the skill set, she knows that Mike has learned the best way to get what he wants is to learn about her interests and try to address them. The skills only work for him when he makes them work for her. Would a skilled Laurel prefer that Mike simply demand what he wants without regard to her interests? Would she prefer that he make assumptions about her ideas rather than asking the open question? Would she like him to argue with her and make her wrong? Not if she understands these skills.

Speaking for myself, if everyone I had to deal with used the skills I teach, I’d think life was easy as pie and just as sweet. [Emphasis added]

In my training exercises, a client sees for herself that, if her partner uses conventional win-lose techniques, she comes out better if she uses interest-driven skills. But she comes out even better if he also uses interest-driven skills.

You too can enjoy these win-win results. Follow these links to learn more about group training or personal coaching.

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