Exercising Your Negotiation Skills – Pt. 2
Last week we looked at the Olympic weight lifter and the sprinter. Both train hard to develop their bodies. Both are fit. Both are competitors. Both are disciplined.
But where is the commonality? How fast will the weight lifter be on the track? What chance does the sleek sprinter have lifting several hundred kilos?
Their differences are obvious. Yet our Olympic sprinter and weight lifter still have lots in common, such as pride in representing their respective countries, the thrill of competing against the world’s best, or the experience of travelling to and competing in exotic destinations.
So an important negotiating muscle we need to exercise is our ability to find as many things as possible that we have in common with the other side.
Clearly there are going to be areas of disagreement. But if we can’t balance those contentious points with at least a few things we have in common, we are going to appear stubborn and single minded.
Therefore, in preparing for an argument or negotiation we need to research the facts so we can make our points intelligently, and also reflect on why exactly the other party might have a different opinion.
By the way, an argument is still a form of negotiation – although somewhat more emotional or animated. Applying the same skills in an argument as used in negotiation will lessen the intensity and bad feelings that can arise in arguments.
This holds true whether the issues are simple or complex, and regardless whether we know the other parties.
We tend to resist doing this because it takes a little time, or because not every point we research will fall in our favor; and that’s exactly why we need to do that research to come up with our counter argument.
No one likes to get blindsided; but it often happens when we over-estimate our ability to “wing it” once negotiations actually begin. More on that next week.