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<xTITLE>A negotiator walks into a bar: a joke teaches a lesson on problem solving</xTITLE>

A negotiator walks into a bar: a joke teaches a lesson on problem solving

by Diane J. Levin

From Mediation Channel

Diane J. Levin

Are your best ideas going down the drain?

A friend recently sent me the following joke:

During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the director how to determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalised. “Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient, and ask him to empty the bathtub.” “

Oh, I see,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No,” said the director, “a normal person would pull out the plug. Do you want the bed near the window?”

What I love about the joke — apart from the fact that it’s actually clean and therefore suitable to repeat in the presence of clients — is how neatly it illustrates an all too common problem: sometimes, when we are presented with several options, they may blind us to other choices — including the simplest and most sensible one.

When you’re looking for solutions or preparing to negotiate, are good ideas going down the drain?

Biography


Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property issues, and serves on numerous mediation panels, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Training and coaching are an enduring passion -- she has taught thousands of people to resolve conflict, negotiate better, or become mediators -- from Croatian judges to Fortune 500 executives.

 

A geek at heart, Levin consults on web design and social media to professionals.  She blogs about ADR at the intersection of law, science, and popular culture at the award-winning MediationChannel.com, regarded as one of the world's top ADR blogs.  She also tracks and catalogues ADR blogs world-wide at ADRblogs.com, where she has created a community for bloggers writing about constructive ways to resolve disputes.

 

web site: http://dianelevin.com



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