Avoid Adversarial Relationships   

How to Disclose   

by Gerard I. Nierenberg          

   A DISCLOSURE MIGHT BE DEFINED AS PRESENTING “FACTS” HITHERTO UNKNOWN TO THE LISTENER. A master salesperson will add a footnote: Disclosure can strengthen a relationship and enhance the possibility of reaching a lasting, mutually beneficial agreement. There are, of course, other types of disclosure. One is the ego-satisfying citation of “facts” by a know-it-all. This kind of disclosure is likely to inspire the reaction elicited from Samuel Johnson in another context: “It [a dog’s ability to walk on two legs] is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”
   Two other types, exposés and revelations, may have a ripple effect on the outside world, but they are usually not intended to change relationships for the better on a one-to-one basis.
   Revelations, once “received from on high” are used to stir masses of people, sometimes for good ends, sometimes for bad, depending

on your point of view. They are the epitome of the “win-or-lose” negotiating philosophy, as exemplified by a long history of religious wars, “righteous” causes, and more recently, advertising fervor.
   Disclosures are not made only by verbal admissions. They can be unintentional. The master salesperson is quick to seize on gestures and meta-talk that convey emotional reactions that the opposer might hesitate to put into words. This can establish a rapport that eliminates the need to verbalize a number of disclosures and makes the important ones easier to articulate.

To contact Gerard I. Nierenberg, visit www.negotiation.com or write: Negotiation Institute, Inc. 10 East 40th Street, Suite 1308, New York, NY 10016

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