They showed me statistics and I slowed down.
I was doing about 70 MPH down the West Side Highway last week when I heard a public service announcement commercial on the radio about the New York City speed limit of . . . 30 MPH.
“Yeah, right,” I thought. Who goes 30 in the city? The guys pushing their carts of fake Louis Vuitton bags probably get up to 35 MPH easy.
The ad continued, “It’s 30 for a reason.”
Ok, you’ve got my attention. Give it to me, NYC DOT.
“Hit someone at 40, there’s a 70% chance they’ll die. Hit someone at 30, there’s an 80% chance they’ll live. That’s why it’s 30.”
I put my foot on the brake immediately.
Because I, ignorantly, had always thought speed limits were arbitrary. Just made up numbers designed to keep us all under a bit more control.
But no, there was a reason. A reason, backed up by facts and figures that I certainly couldn’t argue with, and I’m not sure many people could. And something I will never forget.
What does this have to do with what we do?
We work in a complicated industry with a lot of very passionate people on both sides of every negotiation. Too often, “drama” gets in the way of swift, practical resolutions.
The quickest way to a mutual agreement is to help the other side understand why things are a certain way, and explain to them the statistical reasons behind it . . . not yell and scream and call them names.
Because the best result of a negotiation is when both sides win.
A TV version of the commercial I heard is below, which, coincidentally, has a Broadway theme.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.