Negotiating With Your Talking Stick

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea enhancing your listening skills to become a more productive negotiator. Reading time: 2:24.

           They glared at each other sitting across the table in an intense negotiating session.  Their screaming match still echoing in their ears from the last time these two negotiators met.

Orchestra Conductor Wields his Baton
Orchestra Conductor Wields his Baton
Baton Twirling
Baton Twirling

        Finally one of the negotiators broke his stare, reached down and placed a long, slender, sheathed  object on the table. The opposing negotiator winced and pushed himself back from the table at what he thought could have been some type of weapon.

        “Relax,” smiled the negotiator as he slowly unsheathed his curiosity object.

        No it wasn’t a knife. Or a mini sword. It was a two-foot long stick that looked more like an orchestra conductor’s baton than a baton twirler’s instrument of choice.

        It was a Talking Stick.

       “No, it’s not a weapon,” smiled the negotiator as he methodically placed the carved wooden staff that looked like a mini-totem pole on the table between them. “It’s a tool to help us both listen better to each other so that we can both get what we need out of our negotiating.”

      The opposing negotiator pulled himself closer to the table and leaned in and said: “Well, now we are getting somewhere. How does this tool work?”

       The negotiator then formally introduced The Talking Stick to his fellow negotiator. “The person holding The Talking Stick holds the floor, ” the first negotiator said. “He or she speaks and everyone else must listen until he or she decides to give The Talking Stick to the another person.”

         The second negotiator was intrigued. “You know I have heard of The Talking Stick before. Didn’t the native American Indians use a Talking Stick in their meetings,” the second negotiator asked? “Yes, yes,” said the first negotiator. “One of my mentors from a lot of years ago gave me this Talking Stick,” said the first negotiator, “and I thought it might be of some utility to us today.” Continue reading “Negotiating With Your Talking Stick”