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Published: Nov 14 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

After the failure, albeit perhaps temporarily, of the negotiations in Geneva last weekend between the Iranian Foreign Minister and representatives of the superpowers over the future of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave an interview to the BBC. The transcript can be found here . My interest was drawn to this extract...

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Be Specific With What You Want

You are out for a drink and the bartender asks you – “What would you like?” to which you reply “Guess!”. “Alright then” he says, “How about a red wine?”. You shake your head to this and say “No, that’s not what I want. Guess again.” After much back and forth, the bartender is justifiably irritated and through gritted teeth he tells you “I have other customers I need to serve, you look like someone who would enjoy a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc so I’ll pour you one of those. Enjoy your night.” This is a silly analogy to what I observe every week in most negotiations. Often there is a lack of specific disclosure as to what it is that the party wants or they take a long time to bring this information forward...

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