This article focuses on judiciously educating.
This is one of a series of articles on The Collaboration Effect. The next article will focus on negotiating closure.
As stated previously doing your homework and being prepared is key for collaborating effectively with others and in a negotiation.
By being prepared, knowing who the key players are and how to connect with them from the very beginning is key.
Actively listening using the techniques of summarizing, paraphrasing, asking open ended questions, and being empathetic. This sets the stage for the other party to be able to listen to you. Be sure and incorporate all of these elements, before beginning to educate the other party. We know from neuroscience that once someone has been listened to, they are far more likely to listen to you. So how do you judiciously educate the other party?
Explore your own interests
It is very important that you explore your own interests in a negotiation. This step is often considered obvious by you and your team, but many times, by pausing and considering other variables than the obvious, may allow you and your team to explore other interests. For example, instead of price for example you my also consider timing, quality, future work, leveraging relationships, etc.
What are your goals, values and interests, and how will these play out in a collaboration or a negotiation?
Understanding yourself and your own strengths and short comings and determine how these will enter into this process. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, you may want to bring others with you to ensure you have the strongest team possible. We tend to know our own strengths, but we may need to ask others to help us identify our weaknesses and then work to improve in these areas.
What does it mean to judiciously educate?
Let’s start with what it does not mean
Many experts have been told that when they proceed to court as an expert witness that they should not be an advocate for their client, but instead they should be an advocate for their position. This sounds great in theory, but in reality, this approach can be a real killer. An egotistical or pompous expert can kill the case before the trier of fact (judge or jury). Many experts may indeed be experts, but they may not have the skill set to relate to the trier of fact and gain their confidence. The same is true with an application of The Collaboration Effect for example in a negotiation.
Let’s focus on each of the two elements – Judiciously and Educate
Judiciously picks up on the commentary from the last paragraph.
An expert witness that can provide the information in a way that is straightforward with honesty and integrity, with a professional, friendly, knowledgeable, open mannerism, that is transparent in nature, accepting of others and is technically knowledgeable and reliable will go a long way towards promoting trust.
The key here is to not over sell or promote self interest or a broader interest. The expert must be there to help the other party to understand in a manner that is clearly understandable. The goal is to help the other party. Help them understand and accept the information provided.
Educate in this instance means to inform someone regarding information. To take advantage of The Collaboration Effect, education means more than simply sharing information.
It means understanding the interests of the other party and based on those interests, providing information that will either ease their pain or provide them with benefits (happiness) in a way they prefer to receive the information.
If they don’t care they won’t listen. You need to help them to realize that they should care, but educating them in a way they prefer to be educated be it visual, auditory or kinesthetic. We all have different learning styles.
Educate using Scout’s EDGE technique
For example, simply educating others on either the benefits or reductions in pain is not enough. Rather, make use of the Scouting technique of EDGE.
EDGE is an acronym for Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Enable.
First explain where you are coming from in a neutral and positive perspective. Then demonstrate what has worked and why you believe it may work here. Guide the other party on why and what may be involved with this application. Enable the other party to see how this would work well in this instance. Have them take the lead on taking advantage of what it is you have to offer. What you are presenting is a workable solution.
Learn from others’ mistakes
Working with three potential financial planners to discuss the financial plans in my own future, it was interesting how all three addressed judiciously educating me as a potential client. All three were great at connecting relationships and at actively listening. We were good to go.
When it came to judiciously educating me, the three financial planners made some fundamental errors that you can learn from too.
The manager took over
The party I connected with brought me into meet his manager. After that the party I connected with never said another word. I had no connection with his manager. No time was spent connecting. It was clear that the manager was suppose to educate me and close the deal. The manager took over.
The manager had his way of way of educating a potential new client. It was clearly the same for every client. In my case I have a background in finance, so I indicated there were several areas that I would not need the full commentary.
This was ignored and I painfully sat through elements that I clearly indicated all that was needed was an overview. This was not helpful.
The respect for time
In another instance there were three follow up session related to judiciously educating me with the financial planner. Each time the presenter did not know where he had left off from the last presentation. This was presented on a very nice screen in a very nice office.
Each time I started by saying we had covered several of the sections he was presenting previously. However, he was consistent that he felt I needed to see this again. This wasted my time and irritated me.
The lack of closure
It seemed like the sessions were going to go on forever.
Rather than having an end in sight, it appeared to me that the financial planner thought that by keeping me there or coming back for even more material, that eventually it would wear me down and I would capitulate to their process. This was not effective.
In this instance, I as the client, thanked the financial planners for their due diligence, but indicated I would not need to pursue this further.
The bottom line
Be conscious of The Collaboration Effect, the impact of all four elements and realize they are intertwined but four distinct elements that each require careful planning. These are connecting relationships, actively listening, judiciously educating, negotiating closure. Next week we will focus on negotiating closure.
About the author
Mike Gregory is an expert on conflict resolution business to business, business to government (IRS) and within businesses. Mike is an international speaker and he has written 11 books including Business Valuations and the IRS: Five Books in One, The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions. Mike may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (651) 633-5311. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]