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Empathy

Happy handsome young man with beard talking on mobile phone standing over chalkboard background with blank speech bubble.jpegA “like” is an expression of value appreciation or desire that the Black Swan Group refers to as a positive. A “dislike” is a lack of appreciation, aversion or reluctance, to or for something. It is what we refer to as a negative. The positive or negative emotion that the counterpart attaches to a term or a dynamic is a clue as to the valuation they have put on it. The recognition, articulation, and exchange of values are what negotiation is all about.

Decision MapWe all like to think that we have a certain amount of logic, some more than others, especially when it comes to making decisions that have a serious impact on our future – like in negotiation for example.

It is probably fair to say that when we as people make decisions it is heavily based on value, especially in business.  We are constantly talking about “how we can find value” or “how we can create value” or “what can we do that makes us more valuable”. All these different uses of the word value confuse me, every time it is mentioned there is a different definition.  If what I value is logical and what you value is logical, then how come they are different?

negotiating-with-empathyEmpathy is commonly defined as being very close to sympathy in many cases.  Merriam-Webster defines empathy as the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.  Empathy as it applies to negotiation is neither one, and going into a situation where you are trying to influence the other side using empathy with this characterization will only hinder progress.  The linguistics professionals can describe empathy however they see fit.  But they are not negotiators, they’re simply people filling books with words and have no feel for application.