Go to the Balcony

I often hear this statement from my coaching clients often, “Eirik, my client is irrational and unreasonable. I can’t force my client to do what I want. I don’t control their behavior.” To that I say, “You’re absolutely right. You cannot control your client — and you certainly can’t control the other side — but you can INFLUENCE them. You can PERSUADE them.” But, in order to influence or persuade anyone you have to be able to CONTROL yourself. As William Ury says, Go to the Balcony!

When the other person says no, takes a stand, or takes an aggressive position, we often respond with our own stand (positional bargaining). We dig in, fight back with a counter-attack, or we just shut down or give in. Instead of going with your knee-jerk, emotional reaction, follow Ury’s advice and “go to the balcony”. Suspend your reaction and give yourself a moment to strategize and plan an appropriate response by looking at the situation from a different vantage point. One where you are not “on the stage”, in the middle of the action, but above it with a view of where everyone is standing.

Going to the balcony will allow you to focus on interests, needs, and wants, rather than positions or stands.

Don’t react: Go to the balcony.

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