Embrace dyslexic thinking, and you’ll find yourself well-equipped to meet the evolving competency demands of the future. Your path to becoming a master negotiator begins with recognizing the power of your unique cognitive style and harnessing it to your advantage.
Parallels between dyslexic thinking and the skills required to be a top-notch negotiator
In a world where innovation and adaptability are more valuable than ever, the unique thinking skills associated with dyslexia are emerging as invaluable assets. “This Is Dyslexia“, a remarkable book that sheds light on these abilities, reveals that dyslexic thinking isn’t a hindrance; it’s a superpower.
I read this remarkable book after one of my kids was proven to be dyslexic, and in this article, I’ll explore the incredible skills that dyslexic thinkers possess—skills like visualizing, imagining, communicating, reasoning, connecting, and exploring—and why they are becoming increasingly sought after in the evolving job landscape. I’ll also draw parallels between these skills and those required to excel as a great negotiator. I’m the founder of a negotiation training and advising company, Waegger Negotiation Institute, and after learning more about these cognitive strengths I realized how the specialized negotiation training we offer can harness these abilities to make you an exceptional negotiator.
Dyslexic thinking: A treasure trove of skills
One of these skills is visualizing: Dyslexic thinkers excel at thinking in images, a skill that allows them to see the big picture. As Albert Einstein once said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” 75 percent of dyslexics are above average at visualizing and they have a remarkable ability to visualize concepts, which is crucial for problem-solving in negotiation and innovation of mutual gains.
Another treasure is imagining: Dyslexics are often known for their vivid imaginations. F. Scott Fitzgerald, renowned author of “The Great Gatsby“, once remarked, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Dyslexic thinkers can envision multiple possibilities simultaneously, making them adept at finding creative solutions. A crucial advantage to solving problems around the negotiation table.
We all communicate all the time, so a third skill is communication: Dyslexia often pushes individuals to become effective communicators as they learn to articulate their thoughts clearly. Entrepreneur Richard Branson, who has dyslexia, famously said, “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Dyslexic thinkers frequently develop strong verbal communication skills to express their ideas clearly, and when you want to collaborate with the other party in a negotiation you need the skills to express your ideas clearly. This is why effective communication skills are indispensable for negotiators, who must convey their ideas persuasively.
Exploring is the next skill I want to emphasize. Dyslexics possess a natural curiosity and a desire to explore different perspectives. This characteristic resembles the traits required for effective negotiation—open-mindedness and a willingness to explore by asking more questions in the search for new options. Yet there is the skill of understanding patterns and evaluating possibilities – reasoning: Dyslexics are natural problem solvers. They are naturally good at “going to the balcony” – stepping back from the details and seeing the big picture. An important skill in negotiations.
A great example of this is from the episode, Reading the Room, in the podcast, “Agility at Work: One Step Ahead“. Erin Egan, a full-time negotiator, is the guest. She talks about her learning differences, about her dyslexia, and how she developed the skill of reading the room. Her ability to read interpersonal dynamics. She explains how this skill of reading the room has given her a huge edge at the bargaining table. “I love the unknown. I love the ambiguity,” she says. “I like having to read people, and just the twists and turns you go through trying to find a path where you get what you want, and to help the other side find what they want. I find that endlessly fascinating!” The source of her skill stems from something that many people would regard as a disadvantage, but Erin made her dyslexia to her advantage. Their unique thinking style encourages them to approach challenges with innovative solutions, much like the late Steve Jobs, who declared, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Another treasure skill is connecting: Dyslexic individuals are adept at making connections that others might overlook. Their skills in understanding self, empathizing, and influencing others are strong. Dyslexic individuals often develop strong empathy as they navigate a world that doesn’t always cater to their unique needs. Great negotiators develop their empathetic skills to understand the other party’s perspectives and build meaningful connections. 80 percent of dyslexics are above average at connecting. Their holistic thinking allows them to see the relationships between seemingly unrelated ideas, a skill that is essential for successful negotiation. Two more parallels between dyslexic thinking and the skills required to be a top-notch negotiator are adaptability and resilience.
Adaptability: Just as dyslexic thinkers adapt to different learning environments; great negotiators must adapt their strategies to suit each negotiation’s unique context.
Not to forget the skills of resilience: Overcoming challenges is a hallmark of dyslexic thinking, and resilience is equally essential in the high-stakes world of negotiation.
Dyslexic thinking: The future competency
In an increasingly complex and dynamic world, the skills inherent to dyslexic thinking are becoming sought after like never before. In two research reports (Value of Dyslexia 1: and 2: Dyslexic strengths and the changing world of work) from EY in 2018 and 2019 they found that dyslexic thinking skills were an exact match for the World Economic Forum skills of the future. The ability to use the treasure skills I highlighted are all essential qualities for thriving in the future job landscape. As businesses evolve and innovate, these skills are crucial for problem-solving, fostering creativity, and staying ahead of the competition.
Negotiation skills are essential skills for tomorrow’s workforce.
Embracing dyslexic thinking
In a world where diversity of thought is celebrated, dyslexic thinking stands as a shining example of how unique cognitive styles can offer fresh perspectives and drive innovation. As we look toward the future, it’s clear that the skills associated with dyslexic thinking are not only in demand but also essential for thriving in a rapidly changing world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur like Richard Branson, an innovator like Steve Jobs, or a creative storyteller like F. Scott Fitzgerald, remember that your unique thinking style is a superpower waiting to be harnessed.