Where there’s smoke….
Have you ever been in the middle of a business negotiation and suddenly the conversation shifts? Before you know you it you are discussing the latest vacation spot in the Caribbean and you are nowhere near resolving the pressing issue of delivery of your order. What happened? The other party just threw up a smokescreen.
Smokescreens are the other person’s method for delaying a decision, changing the subject or clouding an issue. Perhaps it’s a ploy to get more time or to save face.
Learn to recognize the smokescreen. To help you out, here is a list of typical smokescreens, taken from Dr. Chester L. Karrass’ book Give and Take.
Detailed explorations of unimportant processes or procedures.
Family talk (or talk about other personal/home/vacation topics).
Sudden bathroom breaks.
Out loud reading of complicated or long or irrelevant regulations.
Permitting telephone interruptions.
Encouraging irrelevant cross talk.
Providing answers to questions not on the table.