Inspirational Quotes | Wisdom | Stories

The Orange Story : Interest-Based Negotiation and Communication

Here is a simple story to illustrate the difference between positions and interests.

Once there was an orange and two people who sat together, fighting over this orange.

"I want this orange !"

"No, it's my orange. I want it !"

They both wanted this lovely orange, and were convinced that they just had to have it.

"Hey, I bought this orange!". "I would rather throw it away than give it to you !"

"If you don't give me the orange, I am not going to give you the sandwich that you want!"

Their conversation saddened both of them, but neither would give in. They went on and on. Finally, their stalemate broke when one declared, "There is one fair way to take care of this, you know." The other relented, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Just like Solomon, we can cut it in half."

And so, that's just what they did. A few days later, they ran into each other. After exchanging hellos, one asked, "Hey, why did you want that orange the other day ?"

Surprised by the question, the other responded, "Well, obviously, I wanted it to make some orange juice !"

This wasn't so obvious to the other who exclaimed, "Oh, my goodness ! If only I had known. I only need the rind to make marmalade. We could have both had what we really wanted !"

They both just shook their heads. Being so head-strong had cost them both an opportunity.

Perhaps you can recall making an assumption like this. Ineffective communication often costs us what we really want, and sometimes prevents us from getting what we truly need.
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