Negotiation is more than just a sales pitch. You already use negotiation techniques to try and influence the people around you, usually for mutually beneficial outcomes (a well-rested child, a funded project, an expanding business, a dinner out). By understanding negotiation, you can control how you communicate your ideas and desires and become a trusted and successful person.
Why is Negotiation Important?
You might say that the word negotiation seems too firm and that we should instead talk about co-operation. Co-operation is essential to get things done, but equally, no change ever happens unless someone persuades somebody to accept it. And that is a process that requires strategy, goals, intentions, and evidence. When anyone wants to change something, there is a natural level of resistance. What seems today like an excellent common-sense idea initially took a lot of effort and negotiation by those who proposed it. Reforms such as universal voting rights and religious tolerance were also argued back and forth for many years before a resolution and subsequent change.
Negotiation is a hallmark of leadership, and you can learn it. You can become more influential across all spheres of your life. You can also learn strategies for specific situations. Take an example. You would not ask someone out for a date the way you would make a product pitch to a client. You could try, but a prospectus or a set of slides is not likely to be a romantic success.
Using negotiation techniques in your home or personal life will probably make you a happier individual. It will help you to build trust and positivity that will encourage happier relationships. A positive negotiation outlook can positively influence people’s lives, encouraging and supporting them to make better choices. You will also become more resilient and better at dealing with life’s curveballs.
Negotiation in Everyday Life
You may not be out to change the world, but you can change and improve your own life by consciously honing your negotiation skills. It is easy to see how negotiation can enhance your working life. Who does not want to get a raise or a promotion? Who does not want to be trustworthy and authoritative? We often recognize effective negotiators as people to whom you can go for advice.
But how can negotiation help outside the office? As your skills improve, you will understand that it relies heavily on connection and interchange. It rests on a better understanding of the other person, acknowledging their desires and needs, and a strong desire to get a mutually beneficial outcome. Your negotiation techniques will show the other person how your proposal would benefit them. Going on a date with you will be fun. Supporting your community project or petition will help make your neighbourhood a better place for everyone.
Your relationships are likely to be more harmonious if you develop a more sophisticated approach to communication. Effective negotiation does not mean getting your way all the time. A mature approach to negotiation is not about winning at all costs.
A Word on Ethics
This discussion about getting people to do or give you what you want might feel a little uncomfortable. After all, is that not how scammers, fraudsters, or bullies work? It is essential to be clear about boundaries and ethics when you are looking at honing your negotiation abilities. Equally, it would help if you understood what is and what is not negotiation.
Negotiation is not manipulation. Manipulation is the unethical forcing of someone to do something. It often employs cruelty or threats and, in the end, will backfire. Manipulation is destructive of relationships and trust, and it is almost impossible to return from it.
Negotiation, on the other hand, uses positive and effective communication techniques to get your message across. It is not a glossy cover for coercion, deception or bribery. Negotiation respects other points of view and autonomy. It hopes and works towards ‘yes’ but respects ‘no.’ It focuses on getting an outcome that benefits everyone.
Negotiation is truthful. It will only work if you honestly set out a clear, logical, reasonable case for why the other person should do as you’re asking. You are guiding them towards making a decision or acting in the way you want them to do. You need to convince the other person that what you’re saying is reasonable and they want to support you. Negotiation is a product of your emotional intelligence. It can be one of your most substantial assets not just in personal and social relationships but also in the office. And remember that becoming a better negotiator is a process. Over time, you can develop a reputation for being trustworthy and honest, which will turn you into a person of influence.