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.

Why?

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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