A lot of problems in today’s world come from a lack of diplomacy. People seem to have forgotten the art of negotiation and instead of arguing constructively, they shut themselves in little bubbles and end all discussion before reaching any agreement. And this trend can be seen in politics more than anywhere else. Everybody is out for their own interests and gains and nobody accepts that you have to give something in order to receive something. This is why we have so many conflicts around the world, because our leaders have forgotten how diplomacy should work and they think they are entitled to everything.
Diplomacy is an art, and in order to be a good diplomat you have to be willing to accept things you don’t like in order to get what you really need. So, the first thing you should do when you start negotiating, is think long and hard about what you want to get out of the process. But really think long and hard and more importantly, try to be as objective as possible. Do not let your feelings get in the way when negotiating, because feelings only cloud your judgment and make you take bad decisions.
I am not saying feelings are bad, not by a long shot, but feelings should be involved only in the planning stage. Before you enter any negotiation, from the Brexit to the fight you had with your girlfriend, think about what you want to achieve and grade your objectives. Identify what things you must have and what things you are willing to loose. If you only have one category, it’s no good and you have to start again. The most important thing when negotiating is that you should always have things you want to win and things you are willing to trade.
If you don’t have one of those, you are not negotiating properly. Think about your desires, because not having desires is just an illusion. If you think long and hard about yourself you will find out that you want a lot of things. And you will also discover that you have a lot of things to offer. So now, after you made these two lists in your head, you are ready to start negotiating. Listen to the other party, understand their desires, understand their red lines, but without judging them.
This is another problem in how diplomacy works today in the world. People judge other people, and this is making the whole process fail. Yes, Putin for example doesn’t want to legalize gay rights, and when you negotiate about that with him you should never dismiss his views as being archaic and stupid. Try to understand his reasons and go beyond your own personal beliefs. The same goes for when your boyfriend wants a blowjob. Try to understand his desire and even if you do consider it wrong, don’t dismiss it. Never dismiss another person’s objective in a negotiation. You may not be able to fulfill it or you may not want to do it, but don’t dismiss it, because that’s not fair and that will destroy the process.
North Korea wants nuclear weapons and that is a valid desire. If we want to get rid of their nuclear weapons we have to start the discussion with yes, it’s normal that you want to have those, let’s see if there is maybe something else we can find to give you in exchange. In this way, you respect the negotiating position of the other party. Not doing this causes only resentment and makes the whole process so much harder than it has to be.
Diplomacy works very well when you accept that 99% of things are on the table. Do not judge, try to offer something in return. If it can’t be done, it can’t be done, but don’t ever dismiss the other party’s desires. If you want to be good at negotiating and diplomacy, accept at first that your desires are not more important and more moral than any other choices. And always remember, the world always changes, ideologists and fanatics don’t…