TrekAcademy


Lesson 009: When to use profanity
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 4/24 ('The Mind's Eye')

[Scene]

The Federation signs a peace treaty with the Klingon Empire; however, tensions still exist.

A Klingon Governor at a remote Klingon occupied planet in the Klingon territory accuses the Federation of arming rebels on the planet to overthrow the Klingon occupation.

The Enterprise arrives to investigate.

In their first face to face encounter, the Klingon Governor curses out Capt. Picard in a vile Klingon native phrase. Capt. Picard responds by getting right in the Governor's face and swears back just as crudely in the Klingon language. The Governor backs down by complimenting Capt. Picard on his usage of Klingon curses.

[Lesson]

There are times in the art of negotiations, when civility may be misconstrued as servility.

While we must always be in control of our emotions during negotiations and ensure that we not let our pre-conceived notions or prejudices be reflected in our reactions or remarks, it is crucial that we not back down from any gauntlet cast down before us in challenge. To do so would be to show weakness and assume a submissive posture in the negotiations.

If the opposing party in negotiations is culturally prone to using cursing or some other action which we may find objectionable or repulsive, then before entering into any discussions, we must first make an overt decision on our rules of conduct by asking ourselves a very simple question.

Are the goals of the negotiations beneficial or profitable enough for us to engage the opposing party in dialog at their level?

If it is, then we must be willing to comply by their standards and match them tooth for tooth, nail for nail, and curse for curse...and like Capt. Picard, it would behoove us to first learn their language, both formal and colloquial.

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