Don't Negotiate, Collaborate!
Tricks, power-plays, passive-aggressive maneuvers,“getting taken”, or being played the fool, even simple misunderstandings. Yikes, no wonder people don’t like to negotiate! But negotiation doesn't have to be this way--even if one side seems not to "play fair"--if you enter the conversation with the intent to collaborate. Here are some tips for a successful collaboration:
1. Prepare. Think ahead of time about what you really want. Think about what is realistic, maybe do some research. Talk to other people or look at articles and books. Decide why you want what you want, why it is fair and what support is out there for your position. Then think about what the other side may want, and if possible, do the same research. Finally, decide ahead of time, what is the best thing you could get elsewhere, or what your best alternatives are, if you don’t reach a negotiated agreement. If you find yourself in an on-the-spot negotiation, ask for any time you need. Say "I'll get back to you" and continue the negotiation at a time when you are better prepared.
2. Focus on interests, not positions. Once you’ve done your preparation and have entered the negotiation, focus on the reasons why you want what you want. Ask questions and learn as much as possible about where the other side is coming from. Find out what is really important to both of you and steer the conversation in that direction.
3. Put the negotiation into perspective. Think about your long-term goals and the relationship you have with the other party. Don't just think about winning or you may miss opportunities for growth and connection that can serve you in the long-run.
4. Create options. Use your creativity. Brainstorm a series of ideas and don't judge them until all are out on the table. Usually there are many different roads to resolution, don't be afraid to explore them.
5. Don't lose your cool. Remember that to get respect, you need to give respect. Keep your goals for a successful collaboration in mind at all times.
In the workplace, employees and managers at all levels find themselves in negotiation every day. You negotiate with your boss, your subordinates, your peers, your subcontractors, your labor unions, or your customers. It can be easy or it can be terrifying. Try these tips and remember, don't negotiate, collaborate!
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