Everybody negotiates! From the child on the playground to the lawyer in the courtroom, everybody negotiates at some time. Even the people who say they don't like to negotiate are negotiating. The simple fact is that negotiations affect every aspect of our lives.
Children, and certainly my son, seem to be born to negotiate. They know how to negotiate bedtime, a little more television, a little less broccoli, and so many other things. But there is so much more to negotiating than the simple tools we learned as children. In fact, negotiations can be very sophisticated depending on the situation. Yet at the same time, negotiations can be very simple. Negotiations primarily depend on using the right tools at the right time.
Luckily, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a good negotiator. In fact, being a rocket scientist might make you a worse negotiator because they may complicate matters unnecessarily by over-thinking the problem. (no offense to rocket scientists, including my sister-in-law, who happens to be one). Negotiating well can be very easily accomplished. You only have to keep in mind a few simple concepts:
- The nature of the negotiation is affected by the relationship with the other person.
- Each side's interests are more important than each side's positions.
- In negotiations, just as in life, the little things often count more than the big things.
- No matter what you do, you cannot convince another person to do things for your reasons. You must convince people to do things based upon their own reasons.
- There is no magic technique or trick that will make people do things in negotiations.
This book is designed to provide you with the tools and techniques that will help you negotiate better in all situations. There are many different techniques. Not every technique will be useful in every situation. However, these techniques will provide you with ways to handle most negotiating situations. Finding out which technique works in which situation will probably require some experimentation on your part.
This book is divided into stages of negotiations. Each stage contains different things that can and will happen, and each section is designed to provide specific techniques that may apply in that particular stage of negotiation.
It is helpful to think of negotiations like a game. One of the best game examples that compares to negotiation is the game of chess. Chess requires planning, strategy, execution, and follow up. The same is true of negotiations. In life, the negotiators are the chess pieces. Usually, in negotiations, just as in chess, a team is required to win the game. As such, you will see some chess related themes throughout the book.
Finally, becoming a successful negotiator requires you to practice your craft. Exercise the new skills you learn in this book—go to swap meets, and take joy in negotiating over a product. Go to a department store and see if you can get a discount. Try some techniques on your family and friends.
The more you practice these skills, the more you will find that certain techniques work better in some situations than in others.