Last week, for the first time ever, the Constitution of the United States was read out loud in the House of Representatives. The Constitution lists many political and civic rights available to U.S. citizens such as the rights to freedom of speech and of peaceful assembly. However, the Constitution does not cover rights for negotiators. That is why Dr. Chester L. Karrass developed the Negotiator’s Bill of Rights, which consists of seven “amendments.”
In drawing up a “Bill of Rights,” Dr. Karrass seeks “to help negotiators feel more comfortable in situations that normally threaten their self-esteem and cause them to retreat rather than advance their viewpoint.”
As a negotiator, you have seven inalienable rights. These are:
- You have a right not to understand
- You have a right to be wrong
- You have a right to be indecisive
- You have a right to be repetitive
- You have a right not to answer questions, and you have a right not to know the answer
- You have a right to your own viewpoint, and to be somewhat irrational or emotional
- You have a right not to be liked
Negotiating is hard work, and the “Bill of Rights” allows you to recognize that you are not perfect and that you will make mistakes, that not every one will like you or what you say, and that all of it is just fine. If you are too sensitive to every mistake that you make, you will quickly become defensive and that will put you in a weak position. It’s best to keep these imperfections in perspective and focus on the job at hand.
Will you adopt the Negotiator’s Bill of Rights?