We're taught the path to success is through demonstrations of force or outward aggression. We should confidently articulate what we want, leave little or no room for alternative viewpoints (since they're necessarily inferior) and resort to fear and threats to gain acquiescence. Professionals try strategies of force in a variety of contexts, including deal negotiations, litigation, prelawsuit discussions, compensation decisions, changes to corporate policy, and even in sales pitches. And, as people, we utilize these strategies in our daily negotiations, whether they're about who does the dishes tonight or where to spend the holidays. Oftentimes, however, instilling fear or applying other self-focused and forceful methods isn't only ineffective, but stifles communication, erodes trust, threatens relationships and ultimately diminishes power. Other times, we simply don't have the power in the relationship to play the "fist pounding" game.
It explores Tactical Empathy as a more effective and less expensive path to power and influence. Understanding what the “other” sitting across the table from us really wants and needs allows far more influence over the terms of the deal than pounding our fists on the table. Well known CEOs, FBI hostage negotiators, and high-level diplomats use Shermin Kruse's tactical empathy to disarm corporate opponents and terrorists alike! It's also used by waiters to get the highest tips, teachers to educate children, advertising executives use to sell us useless knick-knacks, and parents who need help with their teens!
When done ethically, this fearless technique of influence gets us the upper hand in the bargain at issue, while also promoting and preserving long-term relationships with our opponent, future business partner, work colleague, family member, or other counterpart. Lessons of tactical empathy are particularly applicable for corporate leaders, whether negotiating a deal, advocating for a client, mediating a dispute, influencing compensation, pitching a sale or managing teams. They also apply to our personal lives, where negotiations are plentiful.