David Clay@dave_clayIn 1436, Bernard du Rosier wrote his “Short Treatise About Ambassadors” at the court of the King of Castile. It was intended to be a handbook of practical advice for diplomats. Here are his six pieces of advice for negotiators.
1. One must be as clear as possible in exposition, but one need not say everything one has in mind at once before feeling out the opposite point of view.
2. One must listen attentively, and look especially for points of possible agreement; these it is usually desirable to settle first.
3. One must adjust one’s methods to circumstances, and be prepared to make all concessions consistent with the dignity and real interests of one’s principal and the clear tenor of one’s instructions.
4. One must press steadily and persistently but patiently towards an agreement, remembering that the more quickly a just solution is arrived at, the more valuable it will be, since time is always an element in politics and undue delay may, in itself, be a kind of failure.
5. One must always be polite and considerate of one’s colleagues, not prod them, or irritate them unnecessarily, not make a fuss over trifles, not allow oneself to be carried away by the vain desire to triumph in an argument or score of an antagonist.
6. Above all, one must not lose one’s temper. One must remember that the diplomat’s hope is in man’s reason and goodwill.