R E S P E C T – Negotiating Aretha Franklin Style

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Aretha Franklin belted out the word respect in the song by the same title. R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me….What does respect really mean and where has it gone to in todays society?

Respect is an expression of high or special regard. The military taught me a lot about respect. I also learned how to have a level of respect from my parents. They may have been sick jacked up alcoholics but somehow they taught me something about respect.

Respect is also something you need when conducting negotiations. Respect for the other party or other side is important. In the end its just business or just a discussion and some level of respect should be used when negotiating. That’s part of a win-win experience in negotiation.

I have had discussions with many people over the last few weeks about their opinions about respect or lack of it in society today. Many have the same idea; people seem to be showing less respect and more abusive or nasty behavior when taking care of their business in either their personal or professional lives or both.

Recently I took an informal survey by simply observing the level of respect people did or didn’t show in various situations. The results of my observations are as follows:

1. Grocery cart – When I take a cart of groceries out of the store, respect makes me put the cart back in the space provided, even if it’s in the next row over. I had to do some grocery shopping last week and noticed this when I took my groceries out to my car. I noticed carts in every spot around to parking lot although there were a couple of the places to return the carts to. Carts from other stores located at the other end of the parking lot were also left in the area where I was parked. Sure part of the job of the employees of the store is to gather the carts but I think there’s a reason for the places that say “return carts here.”

2. Shoe Stores – When I go to shoe shopping (one of my hobbies…) at one of those stores that has boxes of shoes stacked around the store for people to try on, I always put the shoes back in the box and put the box back where I got it. Leaving them out of the box on the floor or tossed somewhere just seems to be a lack of respect to me. I’ve seen people open the box, put on the shoes, decide they don’t want them then just throw them in the box and toss the box off to the side.

3. Restaurant Issues – When I have a problem at a restaurant with the meal or the service, I speak to the waitress or the manager and ask for some consideration off the bill for the problem. I express my dissatisfaction with some level of respect vs screaming and yelling at the person. I have seen people scream and yell at the staff at stores and restaurants. It seems to me the problem can be solved without getting so upset.

4. Airport security – How many times have you been to the airport and gotten upset at the way security is handled? The procedures change one day to the next. Going through security is a pain. I admit it. I was recently at the airport heading to another city to speak. I stood patiently in line waiting to go up to the screening area. Apparently there were a few people who didn’t like the way the process was being handled. They were yelling and arguing with the security person who was letting people through. She attempted to explain to everyone what was going on and they continued talking loudly over her. She politely responded in a calm manner. When she let our group through one of the men who was Caucasian started to belittle her and threw in some Spanish (she was Hispanic) in a condescending way. Did that really help? When we got to the top of the escalator he told the people behind him that he just “gets upset like that” it’s what he does. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut but I managed to. People like that are the problem with disrespect in our nation and that bad behavior is permeating throughout our culture and needs to stop.

If we don’t start bringing a level of respect back in all the things we do, we are destined to have more problems than we already have. Bad behavior and lack of respect is permeating throughout our culture and society. We see it in the examples above as well as in other areas. Disrespect is significant in many reality TV shows where people tear each other down and tear each other apart on national TV. That makes our children start to emulate that behavior and they become adults who raise children with even worse behavior.

We can’t correct this overnight but if those of us who still have respect continue to be the example to follow, perhaps it will bring others around and each one will reach one – one person at a time. There is still hope.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com

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