Negotiating Tip #9:
What we can learn from savvy politicians
Politicians are not always the greatest role models to pattern ourselves after, but there are some exceptions to the rule.
Over the last half-century one of the most conservative Senators was a Utah Republican named Orrin Hatch. For most of that time, the most liberal man in the Senate was Teddy Kennedy. Yet these two men not only became very good friends, but found a way to work together. When Kennedy passed away, Orrin Hatch gave one of the most moving talks at his funeral. He said it’s one thing to be pleasant with your friends; the real challenge is to maintain a pleasant appearance when you’ve got a serious disagreement that you’re trying to work out. Teddy always disagreed with a warm smile on his face. At first Hatch thought that was an act, but he learned over time that Teddy enjoyed the repartee and verbal sparring that went along with the disagreement.
Expressing your differences this way is how you leave the other person with the feeling that your disagreement isn’t directed against them personally. There’s merely a divergence of viewpoints: a legitimate difference. It’s important to recognize that differences between us are okay and should be subject to debate without automatically rendering the other person an enemy.