Negotiation has been called “The Game of Life.” Not a day passes that fails to confirm its presence in almost everything we do with others.
by Chester Karrass
Negotiation is a critical skill to master, in both our professional and personal lives.
The closer people are to us, the easier it is to argue with them. The problem with this is that the long term consequences can be great. Those closest to us have long memories; things we did or said in rash moments can come back to haunt us for a long time to come.
Business is no different. Fail to negotiate effectively and a disgruntled client will rush to tell friends about how bad the experience was.
Chester Karrass said,
“We are all negotiators. Knowing how to do it well is important. Good negotiators, those able to settle difficult problems and differences amiably, are recognized and respected. They are better able to cut through discord by finding a path to shared benefits. Ben Franklin remarks in his autobiography that those who avoid being confrontational will be received with a “readier reception and less contradiction” to their views.”
To settle difficult problems and differences amicably, and to find a path to shared benefits, requires an open conversation between all parties involved in the negotiation.
To negotiate, you need dialogue.
This can be difficult to achieve when emotion permeates the negotiation. With emotion comes ego, anger, defensiveness, turf protection, and similar negative issues that can block a negotiation.
The best way to stimulate dialogue is to not do anything that will make the other side shut down communication. As Ben Franklin said, avoid being confrontational and you will be received with a “readier reception and less contradiction” to your views.
I have witnessed many salespeople talk themselves out of a sale, all because they didn’t know when to shut up. If you want to avoid confrontation and objections, learn when not to speak. Better silence than upset the other side with some ill-thought statement that you cannot retract.
DAMAGE CAUSED BY A RASH ACT
That email you want to send to give the other person a ‘piece of your mind’, that abusive text or phone call – all they achieve is anger, the result being that you have to spend hours trying to fix the damage caused by a rash act.
Shut up! Think: how many hours – days even – will you have to spend fixing the damage this may cause? And then don’t do it.
It is far smarter to ‘push the Pause Button’. Pause. Don’t say anything you will regret.
NEVER send abusive emails, texts, or letters. Never. And what sounds clever when you post it on Twitter or facebook won’t seem nearly as clever when it blows up in your face, as many sports people and celebrities will attest.
To win in the Game of Life, it helps to be respected. Whether it is a business or family negotiation, treat the other parties with respect, don’t speak in anger, show that you are listening and, when it is your turn to speak, say what needs to be said.
But before you speak be mindful of this:
“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean“.
Be firm if you have to, and always be frank, diplomatic, polite and kind. Don’t say it ‘mean’. After all, isn’t that how you would like to be treated?
The older I get the more I appreciate the value of knowing when not to speak.
I can think of many times I wish I had never said what I did, and there are a couple of times when I regret not saying what I later realised I should have said.
But most times I do not regret remaining silent, biding my time and saying what needed to be said when the emotion was right, and when the other party was ready to communicate.
Negotiation is the Game of Life and the better we are at negotiating, the better our business and personal lives will be.