How Toastmasters learned how to manipulate

The last day of October 2012 gathered together members of Chambers Toastmasters Club and Professional Negotiators Club. The topic of “Manipulations in Negotiations” intrigued everyone and the room was full of people and spicy comments.

The meeting helped to learn not only in theory but in action.  There were two cases of people trying to manipulate each other (which also revealed some great manipulators in our club) and then everyone had a chance to practice what he/she learned. The best part was getting feedback from experienced negotiators.

Here are some glimpses of the meeting shared by the participants:

Ilona Postemska: “We all got lots of insights and some of us even discovered their inborn aptitude for manipulation. That was an interesting exercise and a great start of cooperation between our Clubs!”

Anna Kuznetsova: “I like to play in realistic games like it was during our negotiations with Sofiya yesterday. Our life is a game; however, in real life sometimes we do not have the opportunity to check how different behavior and attitudes can influence the same situation. Why? Because the losses can be very serious! Therefore, I found Negotiators Club a very useful platform to train my negotiating abilities.”

 

Sofiya Huzenko: “Anna Kuznetsova and I participated in an exercise where we had to manipulate each other into taking certain actions. I must admit Anna appeared a tough rival. By the end of our performance passions were running high. But each of us made a common mistake – we both sticked to our original plan of actions. We were not flexible enough to change the strategy even when it became obvious that our negotiations were going to end in lose-lose scenario. It was very useful experience as it demonstrated once again the importance of compromise, flexibility and shrewdness when dealing with other people.”

Polina Oleksenko: “The best experiences are those that are both fun and make us ponder over something. This meeting was of that kind. I left it puzzled with questions: Where is the border between manipulation and persuasion? Do I really manipulate people everyday? I was overwhelmed by manipulation possibilities… That overwhelming feeling was mixed with joy of trying something new and excitement of expanding my horizon. The cases were very real and touched everyone, the professionalism of regular members of Negotiators Club amazed me, and the atmosphere was very warm.”

Vitaliy Zapolsky: ” The negotiators were really cool and impressive: clear mission statement, follow-up analysis, bright case studies… Yes, manipulation is neither good nor bad. Let’s learn new communication tools to defeat our rivals!”

Larysa Antoshchuk: “It may sound strange but it is true – I have never learned anything on manipulation issue from books, articles. .. The meeting “opened my eyes” and painted one situation I had a year ago with a different color: from unclear and confusing into the color of manipulation and feeling that someone used you (one of the consequences of manipulation as we learned yesterday). Thank you, guys, for sobering my memories and feelings. Looking forward to master the tools you have demonstrated – they are great both  for business and for daily life… and sure, for sobering memories :).”

Dmytro Kuzyak: “The meeting made me understand the essence of manipulation. One more time. Again. The general conclusion is not how to manipulate or how to protect yourself against it, but who is capable to do this and who is not. If you have a strong will nobody and nothing make you do something opposite your will. Special thanks to Oleg Demchik & team for attracting experts in the field who reveal some corporate secrets.”

Marina Mikhailovska: “I thought that I don’t know how to manipulate but it appeared that I use some techniques unconsciously. It looked as if every  conflict situation contains manipulation! Are there regular conversations with no manipulations involved?”

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