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Fake truth!

‘Truth Social’ Donald Trump’s new social media platform came out earlier this week in the US

– I must admit as to being curious about the content….

‘Truth’ of course can be a catch-all term for a cocktail of facts, opinions and conjecture. My ‘truth’ can be different from yours which can be different again from theirs.

How and what we express as our ‘truths’ in our communications (the message that we want to project and what the other side takes away), can be understood in very different ways. Some examples include the following comments which are open to interpretation

“I’ve got a great deal for you!”

I hear this regularly, and I shudder when I hear it - especially in situations where the two parties don’t know each other that well. Chances are that you haven’t explored enough about them to determine if it really is a great deal! More likely, it’s a great deal for the party proposing it, probably not so much for those on the receiving end.

Before you make a proposal, ask yourself the question – if somebody asked, “Can you explain the rationale behind this proposal?”, would you be able to? If you can’t, I’d suggest that it’s probably not a great deal for them!

“No problem”

If I hear someone say “that’s no problem” it puts my teeth on edge. You see, it suggests that the item or service that the other side has just agreed to has been valued in what it ‘costs’ them to do it – (probably not very much). The opposite could be true though of how I view it and what’s I think it’s worth – it could have high value to me. We can trade when it’s appropriate, but even when used as a form of reciprocity it may be more appropriate to say “Happy to help” - at least then the work undertaken can be openly acknowledged.

“I’m being (really) honest”

(Methinks the man (or other identifying individual) doth protest too much!). Putting our honesty on the line can seem extreme, especially when it appears out of context with the rest of the conversation. Saying you’re being honest suggests that at some point you’ve been less than honest! Trust can take time to build – consistency of approach, appropriate disclosure of information and great listening skills are the longer, more sure-footed way to build trust.

“I’m happy with that”

For some competitive people, replace this with, “I’ve won”. Whilst the meaning might be accurate (or possibly not!), the perception on the other side of the table can be, “If they’re happy, then maybe I could have got a better deal” – what have I missed?

Perception can become reality, make sure that the other side has an appropriate perception, or things may go south later!

All of the above responses are, to a greater or lesser extent, attempts to ‘influence’ others.

Influence is a key area we cover on our Negotiation Excellence Programme. It is a legitimate way of helping to resolve commercial conflict, it does however need to be done with integrity and needs to be consistent with the value systems of the parties in question.

I’m off to see if I can find any of the above phrases in Trump’s ‘Truth Social’!

Sam Macbeth, 23rd February 2022

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