Chapter 12

When Communication Breaks Down

Build understanding.

The Problem

Sometimes when you get in the room, you find that you and your counterpart can’t get on the same page. Perhaps the conversation has turned contentious quickly, and your counterpart was offended by something you said, even though you didn’t mean it that way. Maybe you don’t understand why the options that you’ve suggested don’t work for the other party. Or perhaps you find yourselves debating over how you each see the situation or issues in the negotiation. No matter what you do, there seems to be a disconnect.

Take this example from an R&D joint venture between an automobile manufacturer and a producer of electric car parts. Alfredo, one of the executives with the manufacturer, ...

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