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Negotiating for Yourself

We negotiate all the time but we don’t call it that and when we hear we have to negotiate for something we panic!

Negotiating is the art of discussing differences of opinion with the intention of resolving those differences in a way that leaves each side feeling comfortable. We do it daily in our families as we figure out who will pick up kids from child care or school; who will grocery shop on their way home from work; what time is a reasonable curfew on a school night or weekend; how much electronic time is reasonable.  Living together requires us to negotiate.

And we also negotiate things at work. We discuss how work is divided, or who will go to lunch when, or even who will stay late to finish a necessary task. But if we are negotiating for something that we want personally we forget all the things we know about successful negotiations. Women sometimes have a harder time asking for what they want. Have you ever asked for a raise? Then you know what I mean.

So here are a few tips to remember when you are negotiating for yourself. You want to end up with something that both sides feel is equitable and fair; you don’t want to win at all costs, unless you are planning to sever relations with your negotiating partner. You want to work together to find a solution.  The tone of your interactions, whether confrontational or cooperative, will remain for the entire interaction. You cannot go back and start over.

Focus on the issue at hand, not people or personalities. Don’t get angry or emotional because you just can’t do your best or maintain your thoughts at that point. Try to understand the other perspective and acknowledge that point of view while still maintaining your own. Consider timing; don’t ask for something at the busiest or most stressful hour of the day. And always come prepared; consider several options and be ready to offer these alternatives.

These tips have served me well in my professional life as well as negotiating with teen aged daughters.