"The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them."
In a disagreement or negotiation, a great deal of energy is wasted focusing on where two parties disagree. Whether it's a tussle between a buyer and seller or husband and wife, our worst instinct is often to hold fast and point out where opinions and conditions differ. It makes resolution seem almost impossible at the outset.
Rather than beginning negotiations by pointing to conflict and difference, why not start by directing attention to common ground? If compromises have been made in the past, wouldn't it make sense to highlight where two parties have found mutually agreeable terms, and begin there?
It's a small shift, but an important one. By focusing on past successes and shared views, you set the stage for overcoming the present disagreement. Beginning with stories of resolution, rather than the bleak prospect of insurmountable differences, you set the tone for a favorable outcome. You help both parties visualize the time to come when both sides have put strife and tension behind them. As a real estate pro, you've ridden through the fires of negotiation before. Draw on the stories of past compromise to help reach the other side.
Though the attribution has been lost over time, there's a quote that says, "riding is the art of keeping a horse between you and the ground." Negotiating the terms of a deal successfully requires an intuitive and firm (but not too firm!) grip on where you're going. To keep things upright and moving forward, you and the horse must depend first on common ground.
by Scott of Oakley Signs and Graphics