In the negotiation training I’ve led recently, it’s clear that many people aren’t aware of how often they negotiate. They may consider an interaction a negotiation only if it’s in a formal financial or legal or business setting, only if they’re sitting across the proverbial table from “an opponent,” or getting ready to work out a deal expected to end in a signed contract, or something similar.
How many of your waking hours do you spend in problem-solving that involves another person? For instance:
- With colleagues, determining who’ll cover which project responsibilities?
- With your boss, scheduling vacation or training or overtime?
- With family members, divvying up household chores or deciding whether you’ll vacation at Grama’s or at Disney World?
- With the convenience store clerk, trying to slide in the door to buy milk just before he turns off the lights ?
Those are negotiations, problem-solving opportunities. Not thinking as a negotiator-problem solver often leads to unsatisfactory solutions. You can improve your success by replacing your image of a “negotiating event” with the vision of “interactive problem-solving.”
Our days and evenings are filled with problem-solving, most of it involving other people, so be ready for them. Applying good negotiation techniques helps smooth out all our interactions & increases our likelihood of developing solutions that satisfy everyone.