When you’re in a conversation and someone wants or needs something, you’re in the middle of a negotiation—even when you’re talking to a family member or friend.
These core skills work on everyone, including your spouse, parents, siblings, kids, and friends.
Business Negotiations vs. Personal Negotiations
In business negotiations, you generally want the conversation to go in a certain direction. Maybe you want your counterpart to agree to cut their price or your boss to give you a 25 percent raise.
Negotiations are different in our personal lives. In most cases, conversations are freewheeling and wide open. By using Mirrors and Labels when you talk to friends and family, you can uncover more information and bring more depth to the conversation.
Stop Asking Questions
In our experience, roughly one-third of the population hates being asked direct questions. But when talking to family members, kids in particular, that number might be even higher.
Think about how many young people enjoy answering direct questions. Most of them hate it because they’re finding their way in the world, and when you question them, they feel as though you’re judging them.
Instead of asking questions, lean into Labels. Quick Labels work on everyone, regardless of age. Even my three-year-old granddaughter responds to them!
If you have young kids and want them to learn how to communicate effectively, it’s not a bad idea to teach them about using Labels and Mirrors early on. Lead by example. They will model the nuances they pick up from you. It’s very similar to teaching them a foreign language. In doing this, you may even avoid the communication impasses that impact most families.
Families can be minefields, and conversations can quickly transform into full-fledged arguments. By using the Quick 2+1, you can get every piece of information you want out of a conversation without asking questions—and without arguing at all.
Using Labels™ and Mirrors™ to Repair Relationships
Recently, at the end of a coaching session, a client told me about a sibling they didn’t get along with. I offered some advice on how they might go about repairing the relationship.
I suggested they call their sibling and ask whether it was a bad time to chat. Assuming it wasn’t, I told them to Label and Mirror whatever their sibling said. That way, the sibling would feel listened to and understood, and the relationship would start moving in the right direction. I received an email a few weeks later in which the client told me the door had been opened successfully and they were now working toward a healthy relationship.
Part of using Tactical Empathy™ is staying curious without being judgemental. So when you use Labels and Mirrors, serve them up with a curious inflection. That way, the other side will open up, and they’ll be more likely to respond constructively.
Of course, you’ll need to give them space to talk, which is where Dynamic Silence enters the equation. Sometimes, clients get so excited the skills are working that they keep talking and forget to give their counterpart extra space to process and share information.
Quick 2+1™: Final Thoughts
If you’ve known someone for a long time and you suddenly begin speaking with them differently, they might say something like this: Why are you talking to me like that?
Should you find yourself in such a situation, it’s the perfect opportunity to tell them you are trying to find a better way to communicate with the people you love and to listen deeper to understand them more completely.
Make the conversation about them—not you—and great things will happen.
The Quick 2+1 is our foundational skill set, but it’s enhanced when used with our other skills. To learn more about those, check out our infographic, “The Black Swan Group’s Negotiation 9™.”