1.) Pay Attention.
Simple right? First step in Jedi diplomacy is pay attention. This includes the people involved, the people effected, and the topic itself. What are people saying? What are they seeking to communicate? Is their tone an indicator or is it distorting the message? My favorite example is taking out the garbage. A parent, spouse, or roommate may request that you take out the garbage. Yet how they ask can make it seem more a demand, Or it may make it seem like they are upset, when in reality they are frustrated at something else and that tone carried over on accident. So pay attention and don’t rely on a single cue. Focus on the message as well as the intent, motivation, and the desired outcome. Allow information (knowledge my dear Jedi) to help you respond in the best and most fitting manner possible. So what is the first step in Jedi Diplomacy? … Just making sure you were paying attention.
2.) Do Not Bully or Allow Bullying.
Diplomacy isn’t about being so smooth you get your way very single time. Often it is about strategic compromises. As such be very aware of your end goal (what you seek to accomplish) and what you are willing to negotiate on. Do not bully your way through trying to get what you want without giving something in return. Diplomacy is about give and take, it is an exchange. You cannot and should not plop your lightsaber on the table and make demands. You’re not a thug. Intimidation and threats are not the Jedi way. It is unbecoming of a Jedi Diplomat to resort to such tactics and ultimately shows that you have a weak hand. Only those with nothing of value to offer (exchange) deal in the currency of violence and bullying.
Likewise, be mindful of those that resort to such tactics. Why have they fallen to such base actions? Scared? Insecurity? Not knowing the value of what they have to offer or that they even have something to offer? Approach the situation from a position of strength. Meaning secure in yourself, your goals, and what you have to offer in exchange for reaching your goals. Better no deal than being bullied into something you’ll regret.
3.) Do Not Ignore People – Build Consensus.
You are not an island. Those it can sometimes feel that way in certain negotiations. Do not shun those involved even if you may not personally like everyone involved. Create an open floor so that all individuals involved have a fair say. Allow them to provide insight and information. In turn use that to hep a consensus on moving forward.
You’ll never be able to make everyone happy. As mentioned, compromises (and thus sacrifices) will have to be made. There is nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need everyone’s love. You just need to get them to agree, which can prove difficult enough without trying to win their approval. So focus on the people involved, keep them involved, listen to them, and use that to build a common ground for all parties.
4.) Treat the Discussion with the Respect it Deserves.
You are the mediator. You are the one that is providing a way to communicate and reach a fair and agreeable point for all parties involved. So yes, Pay Attention. Listen. Being involved and give the discussions the absolute respect they deserve. Do not treat topics lightly and do not disregard the experiences and feelings of those involved. It isn’t about your agreement. It isn’t about your judgment. If something made someone feel upset or uncomfortable, do not debate that or deny that or write it off. Acknowledge it, respect it as valuable information that is relevant to the discussion and future discussions. You are not to play Judge so keep your judgments to yourself. Instead work with the information given and move forward with that knowledge.
Showing the proper respect to the discussion and the people involved will earn a level of respect itself. It will help improve your position and value as a Jedi Diplomat. And just helps any situation you may find yourself in. Which in turn makes your “job” easier to manage in the future. And if diplomacy is about one thing, it is about the long vision as much as the immediate result.
5.) Stay Classy. Create a Safe Space.
This starts with your language. How you communicate, your tone of voice, your body language, the words you chose, all of it creates a specific environment. Use your communication skills wisely. Use language that encourages an open, trusting, and respectful atmosphere. If you are working a negotiation to get a higher allowance (or pay rise) you do not wish to start off with hostility or a place of demand. Setting the tone is critical in dealing with any difficult situation. So be mindful of your tone and chose your words wisely.
Insulting (intentionally or not) someone you are seeking to negotiate with is going to set you back. You may be able to recover from a misplaced word, but it is simply better not to put yourself in that position. Digging yourself out of a hole you created takes away from the progress you could be making. Often it will result in extra concessions from your side which you really didn’t want to compromise on in the beginning. So create a nurturing environment that allows for open and supportive dialog. That begins with you, your words, and your tone. Create that place of respectful and open discussion that allows for consensus and fair compromise.