Geoff Crane: Assumptions

Conversation Piece (musical)

Image via WikipediaOne of the things I constantly grapple with are assumptions. When dealing with someone during negotiations, my tendency to assume my counterparty possesses a piece of knowledge that they may not sometimes gets me into trouble. I constantly have to remind myself not to assume that people know anything, and to use language like “were you aware” whenever I broach a new topic. Often, I will deliberately preface a sensitive conversation with a statement like, “while we’re talking we might catch one another on information that doesn’t jive with what we think we know…if that happens, let’s agree to stop and ask questions.” Dumping new information into a discussion, and then glossing over it is a sure-fire way to derail a negotiation. Although it may be tempting to plow into a conversation with someone, if you’re trying to achieve a specific end, always treat your the person you’re speaking with as if they’re hearing your information for the first time.

Geoff Crane, PaperCut Edge.