Whether we negotiate our work schedule or negotiate our cable bill, it’s always helpful to acquire new skills to help us be better communicators. And the opening session at this year’s Green Spa Network Congress set the tone with Dr. Mehrad Nazari’s talk on “Enlightened Negotiation”—a timely concept considering what we witness in today’s world politics.
Dr. Nazari beautifully led the discussion with breath—real, deep breath. How many times do we find ourselves panicking and breathing shallowly as we enter a lively discussion? I was reminded that even if we take just 30 seconds to take several very deep breaths, what a change in energy that creates. And then, if we can go into that meeting with a holistic approach, as Dr. Nazari suggests, with emotional intelligence and mindfulness, we can “transcend the myopic vision of limited resources.” I was reminded to act as if anything is possible, not that it has to be this way or that way, but to have an open mind and a knowing that we all want to connect and prosper. Collectively, we can find common ground. Our goal should always be to find mutually beneficial solutions with the intention of maximizing collective gain.
In his book Enlightened Negotiation: 8 Universal Laws to Connect, Create, and Prosper, Dr. Nazari references the 8 noble truths as part of any relationship or communication:
- Trust is the foundation of any relationship.
- Intention is concentrated thought toward a goal.
- Communication is not broadcasting; it is a two-way street.
- Strength is a power gained through knowledge.
- Flexibility is the ability to embrace change without compromising values.
- Manifestation is the transformation of thought into reality.
- Mindfulness is awareness of our true nature.
- Reflection is the noblest way to acquire wisdom.
At the very core of this discussion is the idea that trust is the foundation of any relationship. If we can trust that it is OK to share ideas and collaborate, then creativity increases. Likewise, trust improves with positive support. As Dr. Nazari states, “It takes time to build trust, and only minutes to destroy it.” If there is anything we can take away, it is that trust with your colleagues, superiors, and clients is something that should be a priority every day for each of us. Words followed by action build trust.
To build trust, it is important to listen empathetically. That means to see the situation from the other’s perspective. And then remember that “all human beings have a desire to create, connect, and prosper,” as Dr. Nazari states. One way to consider this is to reframe the picture in your mind and loosen the grip. “Strength can be the wisdom to know when to let go.” Learn to adapt to change, but always without compromising your values. Whether or not we’re confronted with an opposing viewpoint, remembering these things when speaking with people can prove helpful.
Dr. Nazari reminds us that the human spirit is unlimited. If we can understand and practice these 8 noble truths in our work and our daily negotiations, perhaps we can all do a better job of tapping into our unlimited potential. Working as massage therapists, our job is to promote health and wellness. And working toward healthy relationships and healthy conversations can positively affect the world. Remember, it only takes one person to change the tone of a difficult conversation.
You can learn more about Dr. Nazari’s work and order his book at www.enlightenednegotiation.com.
To learn more about the Green Spa Network, click here.
—Angie Parris-Raney is director of affinity relations for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.