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, expos�s 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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