Sunday, December 09, 2007

Soft Words Win Hard Hearts

This is a truth long known by ladies who in days of warfare and conflict had to ease the mood of men inured to suffering and battle.

But diplomats who wish to bring about peace and reconciliation also have need of such skills. The natural instinct of a battle hardened warrior might be to threaten and bluster but this often just gets the backs of opponents up and guarantees constant conflict.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick", is oft quoted advice for those involved in negotiations. In other words don't try to rub your power advantage into your opposite numbers face but a gentle hint of potential accompanied with conciliatory words can lead to meaningful negotiations.

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