Tag Archives: negotiating

Marriage Negotiating Tips from FBI Top Negotiator

dog fight morguefileI came across this Forbes article that gleaned negotiation and communication tips from Gary Noesner, former Chief Negotiator for the FBI, a man who talked many a deranged individual out of their destructive plans, including David Koresh.

I was intrigued by the concept of the Paradox of Power he discusses. This means the harder you push, the more likely you are to be met with resistance. I think we know this deep down, and we display defensiveness and push-back when others come at us in an attacking manner. Yet, we sometimes forget that the key to a successful negotiation or outcome is often in the way we approach our spouse or coworker or child or boss or whomever we have an issue with. Instead of a calm, conciliatory manner, we may approach in an angry or hostile manner. Displaying power may work well in the animal kingdom to throw off predators, but it doesn’t work too well in family life.

What works? Staying calm. Listening. Acknowledging. Then moving forward toward a solution. Noesner says it very well here:

“If the communication skills we developed in the crisis negotiation arena are successful in convincing the most desperate people in the world to cooperate with a 90% success rate, then surely some of these you know active listening skills, these de-escalating cooperation building skills certainly have applicability in the world of business and in people’s personal and family lives. If you’ve got somebody you’re dealing with that’s angry, remain calm and in self-control, listen carefully, and acknowledge their point of view. Then, once you have a calmer atmosphere, you can work towards resolving the problem satisfactorily. I think that is a tremendous diffusing tool that people can use.”

I’m certainly going to try to take his advice to heart. What communication strategies seem to work best in your marriage? Do you find they help you at work also?

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

Oh No, I Married an Extrovert!

It’s extremely common for a married couple to be comprised of one outgoing/extroverted person and another who is more introverted. My marriage is no exception, with me being the introverted one (as most writers are), and my hubby on the far extreme of extroverted.

I didn’t expect this to cause much conflict when I got married, but in fact this difference affects how you each wish to plan your days, your weekends, your vacations—pretty  much your lives. That means, while I would love to be reading alone or taking a solitary walk to recharge my batteries, I host large or small groups of people in our home on a regular basis, because that’s what recharges my husband’s batteries. To be honest, I generally enjoy these gatherings and love our friends, but they require much more energy from me than for him. (I also have higher housekeeping standards, but that’s another post entirely.)

What defines an introvert or extrovert anyway? Introverts refuel their energy by spending time alone, while extroverts become fired up and energized when they are socializing with others. One can exhibit different personality traits depending on the situation. For instance, you may be introverted in a group of strangers, but extroverted at home with friends and family. Introverts generally have a longer attention span, are more private and less aggressive. Not all introverts are shy; they just don’t enjoy or thrive on social situations as extroverts do.

I’m fairly social for an introvert (partly because of who I married), but I can’t change my brain’s biology. Introverts and extroverts have different brain wiring then extroverts. Brain scans have shown that introverts have more blood flow to their brains than extroverts. In addition, they showed different pathways for the blood flow in the brain, with introverts showing a longer and more complicated path when involving internal experiences (i.e. problem solving). Extroverts’ brain scans showed their blood flow was shorter, less complicated and traveled to different areas. Clearly, introverts respond to internal stimulation, while extroverts respond to external stimuli.1

So, with the understanding that we can’t change one another, how can we best manage the disparity? It’s best to respect your differences, and negotiate or compromise when you disagree on events or schedules.  My very spontaneous, social husband understands that he should check with me before inviting people over, because sometimes I’m just not up for it. And I understand that being social is part of who he is, so I encourage and make room in my life for that. We help balance one another. However, during the first five or more years of marriage, we were still figuring this out and wondering why the other person didn’t want to do what we did.

In most of the interviews I’ve done with happily married couples, one person has been introverted while the other is extroverted. They also had to learn to adjust to these differences over time through trial and error. Maybe one person leaves church or a party early, so the other can linger and talk. Or, one spouse takes more frequent outings with friends and allows his or her partner some time at home to rejuvenate. Resist the urge to separate your lives too much; we need to be involved in one another’s interests and friends—to be attentive, caring and interested. Read Pour Love on Your Spouse.

I’m glad I married someone different from me, because it stretches me out of my comfort zone. Maybe I even cause my partner to become more reflective at times. I think we are more interesting and better people as a result of our balancing act.

I’m curious… whether are engaged, dating or married, do you and your partner have different social tendencies? If so, how you have learned to negotiate that landscape? If they are the same, does it make you more compatible?


1 Source: Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., The Introvert Advantage (New York: Workman Publishers)