negotiation | February 18, 2013

Value Opposing Points of View: Misha Glouberman In The Globe and Mail

If you are going to be sitting in on negotiation speaker Misha Glouberman's class today, here is one of the first lessons he may give you: "[living in a city] you are always in conflict—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing." Globerman (who begins his six-week workshop on conflict resolution at the University of Toronto’s Barnicke gallery Feb.19) was recently featured in The Globe and Mail. Glouberman, who The Globe calls a "Toronto staple" is the co-inventor of the non-expert lecture series Trampoline Hall. He is also the co-author of The Chairs Are Where the People Go, and a popular speaker on effective communication and conflict resolution. As he tells The Globe, there are a lot of things that get people riled up in big cities. This kind of conflict isn't always negative—so long as you know how to see things from the other person's point of view. Also, you need to be able to effectively come up with a positive resolution to your conflicting opinions.

Why is it important to hear the other person's point of view? "One reason for that is because it's kind and it's compassionate," Glouberman tells The Globe, "but the other reason is that—and I say this 20 times a day when I teach the class—if you're in a negotiation, it's almost invariably in your interest to understand the other person’s point of view." One way he teaches people to see things from outside of their own perspective is to have them act out a negotiation where they are not playing themselves. "It’s like a role-play," he explains. "They get interviewed first as themselves, and then as the other person. And then they have to act out the conversation, but when they act out the conversation, someone else comes out and plays them. It's sort of silly but incredibly powerful."

Glouberman says this lesson also helps you to refrain from getting into an "all of nothing" state of mind when dealing with people you disagree with. In politics, especially, he says that people have the tendency to disagree with everything someone says once they disagree with them once or dislike them as a person. We need to learn to overcome this attitude because sometimes we can miss out on the good things our opponents say by automatically tuning them out. In his classes (which are wildly popular) and his keynotes, Globerman teaches a straightforward, but invaluable skill: how to deal with people. We do it everyday, and often conflict with people in doing so. However, Glouberman shows us how to navigate negotiations so that we achieve the results we want—even in times of conflict.