Saturday, March 9, 2013

Survivor's Toolbox: Negotiation Training

I am not much of a bargain hunter. I do not like to ask for deals or discounts or specials. I have heard of the Secret Starbucks Menu but have never partaken of it. I am that person who gets ripped off at a yard sale. What I am saying is that, until recently, if I were to end up in a position where I had to haggle or negotiate, I probably would not do well.

At my day job, I was given the opportunity to take a negotiation training course. I didn't want to take it (in large part because I knew it would not involve a Hostage Situation). I tried to get out of doing it a few times but eventually I caved. In hindsight, I most likely could not get out of taking the course because I did not know how to negotiate very well.

I did not become a negotiation expert after a five week, ten hour, course. However, I did learn a few things that will definitely come in handy when, after the Sentient Pet Rock Uprising, I am trying to negotiate with a farmer for a larger, yet less radioactive, chicken.

The following are a few tips. This list is by no means all encompassing.

Know Thy Enemy

Don't just walk into the chicken coop expecting to get the prime fowl without knowing a thing or two. Learn everything you can about the object or objects to be negotiated for and learn about the person with whom you are negotiating. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to deal with the situation at hand.


Be a Good Listener

Good listeners hear what the other person is saying. I know, it seems a bit trite, but how often do you find yourself in the middle of a conversation but have no idea what the other person was saying? Exactly. Not listening when negotiating means losing out.

Listening carefully let's you understand the other person's point of view better. This means that you will have a better idea of what the farmer wants and needs. If you can in some way meet her wants and needs, she will  be more receptive to meeting yours.

Another bonus is that because people like to be listened to, earnestly and honestly listening to someone makes him like you more. And people who like you are more willing to work with you.

Take Notes

Keep a record of the conversation so that you can refer back to them if necessary. Taking notes also ensures that you are listening carefully to the other party essentially forcing you to be a good listener. 

Having a record of the conversation will be handy when discussing the actual details of the contract. (Giant, minimally radioactive chickens are not cheap.) Being able to look back over the discussion will aid both parties since no one will miss out on a possible boon.

Taking notes also forces you to step away from the situation in some ways. Decisions made because of an emotional response, rather than a rational one, rarely work out well.

From Tumblr
Bartering for goods and services will take the physical skills required to create goods and perform services, but it will also require us to know how to get the best deal we can. Some negotiation styles are cut-throat. Others are much more interested in everyone getting the best deal possible. Learn about as many negotiation styles as possible: you can only repel a possible attack if you recognize it.

What are some of the negotiation skills you will need after the Sentient Pet Rock Uprising? Tell us in the comments!

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