Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Bel's thoughts

PreviousPage 42 of 44Next

Whatsapp conversation where I was asking to speak to a bar council member for a public policy issue that interests me:

Him: Of course, now I’m with some clients do you mind if we talk tomorrow?

Me: Absolutely not, thank you and talk tomorrow.

Now, he got the meaning of my text as highlighted by his subsequent response.

But, I still immediately thought that the fact that “no” breaks rapport should have led me to phrase it better:

Me: I absolutely do not mind, thank you and talk tomorrow.

Expanding a bit on this story: I approached him during the local bar council election (where I was voting) and, after voting, I asked to talk to him about this matter.

I had met him years before at a seminar where he was teaching and said so. He was responsive and polite, and gave me his number.

Then I waited some days, congratulated him on his election and asked if I could disturb him. He thanked me for the congratulations and the above ensued.

Yes for the rapport break, good call.

But if I got the dynamics right- IF!- I personally wouldn't have gone for either.

Tehre is an even bigger issue there.

It's the dynamic of who closes the convo and who (must) accept it.

Think about that as power dynamics first

  • He's higher power
  • You're in need of him (taking)

Then think of it as frames, as in minimizing VS expanding.

You want to minimize and, ideally, address both issues.

The word "problem" expands on those not-so-good dynamics.
Obviously, the problem can only be on YOUR end, and the fact that you even mention it opens that thread and raises the question: could it have been a problem for you?-.

Come to think of it, yes: because he's higher power, has something you want, and hence you may be taking in this exchange -and back to the basics: nobody wants a taker-.

The "absolutely do not mind" may make it even worse because it feels like a "switching the power tables" power move while it indirectly brings more attention to the fact that he's higher power and giving and that you're taking.
Of course you don't mind, because you have little leverage and you're in no position to do anything else even if you minded -so it comes "off" to a power aware person-.

I'd have gone for something like that:

Sure thing, I wish you a productive day!

I may have even skipped "speak tomorrow" or it may feel like you're posting up for him.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you, Lucio.

The dynamics are as you say.

In other words, by saying “I do not mind”, it seems I am trying to “take power” (as in “I have a say in this”) when I don’t have none.

And in saying “talk tomorrow” it gives the impression I’m “locking up” the time he offered.

I now see this is a mistake I do constantly (ie replying “talk [whatever time the other said]”).

EDIT: Adding:

By saying “I do not mind” or "not at all", I am falling into his frame where I am the low-status person not accustomed to interacting with people like him.

In other words, his "do you mind?" question was a test. The test is:

Are you really a high-status guy used to talk to the likes of me or are you posturing?

In answering as you suggest (ie "Sure thing, I wish you a productive day!"), the subcommunication is "Hey, I know you're (formally) higher-status, no need to play this game".

My answer "I absolutely do not mind" instead was the equivalent of "Ok, I accept your frame and am your humble taker from now on".

So in other words I went to talk to him and did everything correctly (which I wouldn't have done in the past if I hadn't studied PU) until I dropped the ball the moment where he tested me on text.

So just for my learning:

  • best not to re-mention the time proposed by another, it looks like "stalking"
  • best to redirect conversations with formally higher-status people in a more "equal", less "taking" direction

I think I'll post the whole interaction on a separate thread.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I wouldn't necessarily say it was a test -especially if his wording use "stock sentences"- and neither that you necessarily dropped the ball.
Edit: Italianized "necessarily" since it may be the case for both, just that we don't know -and, if I had to guess, I'd say "no" to the first and "you may still be in the game" for the second.

Things may still go smoother from here on.

But yeah, feel free to go for it on another thread, I think this is a very interesting case study for more advance power dynamics and frame control.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The more "invested" the proposal, the more "power loss" in a refusal

I find that I am unconsciously starting to frame my time proposals for work calls depending on the "usual response" of the other party.

In particular, with a client who always seems to say he's not available upon my first "proposal", I'm starting to widen my proposals to a more generic timeframe.

Formerly:

Me: Does Friday X January at Y time work for you?

Him: It doesn't, what about Monday?

Now:

Me: Does Friday work for you?

I think it may be a matter of showing less "investment" in the initial proposal: then a "refusal and counterproposal" is going to produce "less of a power-loss" effect.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Bel on January 25, 2023, 1:36 pm

The more "invested" the proposal, the more "power loss" in a refusal

I find that I am unconsciously starting to frame my time proposals for work calls depending on the "usual response" of the other party.

In particular, with a client who always seems to say he's not available upon my first "proposal", I'm starting to widen my proposals to a more generic timeframe.

Formerly:

Me: Does Friday X January at Y time work for you?

Him: It doesn't, what about Monday?

Now:

Me: Does Friday work for you?

I think it may be a matter of showing less "investment" in the initial proposal: then a "refusal and counterproposal" is going to produce "less of a power-loss" effect.

There may also be another thing at play here.

I think I was previously somewhat unconsciously invested into "appearing busy", and that's why I proposed specific times.

Now it's like that "need" (which I was unaware of, consciously speaking) has subsided.

I just received the answer to this last proposal I made (where I only specified the day) and they were much more agreeable than before.

Like if my previous "appearing busy" stance generated an unconscious adverse reaction. While this new manner is more "honest".

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hidden dynamic: "slight social climbing" to "get on an equal footing"?

May it be possible that people entering a new environment may unconsciously slightly social climb on existing members to feel "less out" and more on an equal footing?

If so, one may want to accept a slight social climbing in an initial phase by new members (or other people in general) to avoid having them feel excluded with no possibility of "entering in rapport".

This may point in the direction that countering any social climbing may be a mistake. At the beginning, letting it slide may not only be justified by the possibility of intention being good: it may also encourage more rapport.

Edit: more broadly, since social climbing may derive from the need to "feel accepted", there may be a sweet spot where one wants to accept a slight social climbing.

Client asked me "what they could have done"

Context: I prepared a contract for a client, and then heard no more for some time.

It turns out my client decided to directly negotiate the contract with the counterparty.

Now I've just had a video-call with this client, who asked me to prepare an addendum to the contract.

During this call, the client told me he was "surprised" by some negotiating positions and requests of the other party, and that this ultimately led my client to make significant concessions on several points.

Then one of the people present asked me "what they could've done":

Client: So, unfortunately, we made these concessions. Maybe Bel you can tell us what we could have done differently, so that in the future - if a similar situation comes up - we may handle it better.

I immediately thought this was a question that was impossible to answer, as I was not present during negotiations. And besides, even assuming I answered it to the "best of my ability", it would have only angered my client as it would have amounted to "imaginary scalping". And also, the agreement was finalized already, so no point going hypothetical.

So I chose to go for the philosopher's frame, and to validate my client's end-result:

Me: Well, I believe it's impossible from the outside to comment on a negotiation. You were there and I was not, so I can't really say. And besides, I think you obtained a good satisfactory result.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Bel,

Some very quick notes on this:

If you notice when people ask for advice here I never say "impossible".

One, because it's a bit disempowering towards those who asked, as if to say "you silly, it's impossible".

And second, you always want to be in the position of potentially dispensing value.

So difficult or challenging are a lot better than impossible.

Personally, I'd try to give some advice anyway.
It's empowering they ask you, and if you can give some value, you confirm that position of value-giver.
So it's a (small) risk I'd take.

I'd ask them what they did first though.
That always helps a lot to guide your own answer and ground it into their reality -that's why it's a forum rule for people to share what they did or would do-.
Then you can add that "it's always difficult to negotiate when something you're unprepared for comes up", then comment on their own moves, even if only to say it was good.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you so much Lucio,

this is very very helpful.

In the past I would have answered the question and "brutally" told them what I would have done, but now I thought it was not conducive to a good outcome.

But your point makes sense. And I hadn't thought about the choice of words ("impossible") being "dismissive" of the request, but it makes much sense.

Seems I am changing my behaviors with opposite ones, and not yet finding a middle ground.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
PreviousPage 42 of 44Next
Processing...