Storytelling is my natural imaginative/creative way to visualize and reinforce the ideas I need to explain and the meanings I need to share. To me, storytelling is to look for images and narratives that can describe what I need to explain in a way that is, incredibly:
- more “real” and “touchable”
- and also more dreamy, more impressive.
I personally think and believe that anything, when visualized, gets stronger. The idea of finding a visible analogy to build the storytelling on, is always appropriate. It gives the chance of mixing up real elements and analogical elements in a unique and strong narrative.
I’ve recently had to describe some tips and strategies to enhance one’s negotiation skills and methodology and this is the storytelling I imagined.
1. Title and picture
The best picture to introduce my storytelling is the one ↑ up here, a man sailing the ocean on his own, with his hands right on the ship’s wheel.
And the title is:
Sailing through a negotiation
2. Body of the storytelling
In this case I immediately introduced the leading concept and image of my storytelling.
Sometimes the storytelling shall be direct, no need to wait for it to come. The first lines shall reveal it as soon as possible to intrigue and increase curiosity about it by making the reader say “Why this image? I want to read more! “
When I think about the mood anyone needs to maintain during any negotiation, being it written or live, a beautiful image comes to my mind: the navigator.
A negotiation can be sailed through just like an ocean.
And a good navigator – as a good negotiator is the one that never gets lost into the waves, promptly manages his fears and emotions and gets to land grown up and always a bit more complete than he was at the beginning of the journey.
It’s now the time to describe the foundings of the analogy by stiching together the real elements with the imaginary/analogical ones.
I chose to make it with a list: I think a list gives a good rhythm and a simple flow that can be easily read to get through it and appreciate the analogy.
I started all the points with the same words, the same image and, each time, I explained a different point of view. In this way, the reader would always know what to expect, what he is near to discover, comforted by the same introduction.
1. A good navigator has a purpose, a place to reach
An experienced and smart negotiator needs to know where to get, which is his ultimate objective defining a clear Target Point and a bottom Reservation Point.
To be able to touch all the possible agreement points, each negotiator shall explicitly admit to himself his interests, needs and concerns, and needs a strong BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) as well.
These are the ways to construct a strong strategy and to understand when the discussion is going out of the reach.
2. A good navigator knows he is not alone, ocean drives him anywhere
A good negotiator needs to learn as much as possible about his counterparty, investigating his TP, RP, BATNA, interests, why, expectations, preferences, concerns, fears – taking his perspective.
The counterparty – just like the ocean – is not an enemy, not someone to beat or defeat but it’s the essential element of the journey. A good negotiator knows that an agreement (being it favorable or striking good) needs the other part to follow, to say ok.
3. A good navigator designs more than one route to get to the place
Prepared negotiators brainstorm alternative outcomes, imagine expanded packages, do not fix on positions, keep open to include or give up elements, focusing on theirs needs and on the other’s needs.
Defining different ending scenarios and imagining his own position in each of them is the key to stay open, to be inclusive, opened, to make the other feel that there’s not just one option but the best option can be defined together.
4. A good navigator is ready to change route in case of obstacles, bad weather or unexpected events
A good negotiator needs to continuously phase with the situation, keep his eyes-ears-skin open to get clues.
He needs to listen to his emotions (not self-judging, cooling down when necessary or turning on when it’s time to) and to the other’s emotions (immediately investigating which is the concern I was not able meet, which are the elements that may hurt his needs).
In such a relaxed and open scenario, where emotions are felt and managed, everyone can feel there’s a comfort zone where to move and bargain at the best of their possibilities.
5. A good navigator gets to the shore mile by mile
In negotiations we need to approach the agreement patiently, expanding the pie and regularly taking a slice, changing speed when needed, adding elements without wandering.
You know “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, each step make you closer to the final decision, just take the right one.
6. A good navigator keeps track of his journeys
After any negotiation, an experienced negotiator thinks about what has just happened and takes notes of his behavior, the others’ behavior, the missed points and the things he would have changed if possible.
And all these elements shall be kept into a diary of negotiations: to learn to assign them an importance level and a performance grade, to be able to reflect on what went well or not and why and to define what to correct next time.
3. Conclusion of the storytelling
After the whole development, it’s now time to conclude the storytelling.
It’s always a good idea to complete a storytelling with a strong, emotional and inspiring idea/concept.
Given the context here, the image I chose, and the presence of the water as a flowing and leading image of this storytelling, I concluded with a philosophical quote, opening the readers’ mind and feeding his hope on the future:
A good negotiator never stop improving
Heraclitus, in the 6th century BC, developed a special term: Panta Rhei. He said that:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
And that’s the most important lesson in my opinion: we’ll never be able to go back and make things (better) again, but things done make us learn and develop.
All our negotiations are sons and daughters of previous negotiations, the important thing is to keep on tracking and improving.
Storytelling empowers ideas
A good storytelling makes any idea and any concept
- more simple to be understood
- more sticky to the readers mind
- more difficult to be forgotten.
And that’s what it’s magic.