Negotiating in Life, Negotiating Tips November 18, 2009

Focus on what is important

Have you ever had a business negotiation that went south because of a bad personal interaction? Most likely, the answer is yes.

Whenever you negotiate, you are always dealing with people. People always seem to bring personal issues to the table. These issues can often make a negotiation difficult. On this blog, we’ve discussed personal issues that can derail negotiations like hidden motivations and bad tempers.

The solution is simple: focus on the negotiating issue at hand.

We came across “Deal or No Deal: The Art of Effective Negotiation,” a blog post by Keri Damen on the MaRS blog (http://blog.marsdd.com/2009/11/16/deal-or-no-deal-the-art-of-effective-negotiation/) Damen provides some great business negotiation tips. Among them was this excellent piece of advice:

“Separate the people from the problem in your negotiations: Be soft on the people, but hard on the problem.”

It’s easy to make things personal, but we have to resist the urge to critique the person and not the idea. In a negotiation, it is important to measure the ideas being presented separately from whatever the personal issues may be.

In his book Give and Take, Chester L. Karrass quotes Benjamin Franklin, saying “there’s no such thing as a small enemy.” In that spirit, Karrass encourages negotiators to avoid personal attacks because people who feel attacked then feel they must get even. This cycle is counterproductive.

The next time you are negotiating with someone that is taunting you or that you simply don’t like, focus on your negotiation goals, be patient, and ignore the personal stuff. It will lead to a more productive negotiation.

What techniques do you use when confronted by a personal attack?

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