When you ask a question, you are negotiating! Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach an understanding, resolve point of difference or gain advantage in outcome of dialogue, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage. Don’t you negotiate all the time in your personal and professional lives?
When you were a child you were a natural negotiator! Your negotiating style was fairly limited though. It started as soon as you wanted something. You cried and cried until someone paid attention to you. You did not stop crying until you were satisfied with the results. It ranged from getting a drink, changing your diaper, food, a toy, candy, a nap or just your way. How quickly you forget.
As you get older, your style expands just a little. You start to communicate and ask for things. It is probably the same list of things you wanted when all you could do was cry, but now you put it into words. Some children ask for things and cry when they do not get them. Usually, you keep it up until you get what you want. You wear down your parents and other adults by just staying after them.
You discovered how to negotiate! You negotiate for your wants and needs before you could even talk. As soon as you could talk, you would express yourself beginning your sentence with I want or I need something. When you did not get it soon enough, you might cry or have a tantrum. Is this a natural phenomenon or a learned response? When you learn to stop crying or have a tantrum, you seem to forget how to negotiate.
As we get older, we realize that negotiation is more art than science. You need to do more research to understand that both parties in a negotiation should come away with something, but that comes later. Your next opportunity to negotiate is for an allowance. Every family looks at an allowance differently, but it is when you receive a little spending money. In some instances some chores may be involved which is something to negotiate.
Wouldn’t be nice, if you had a playbook that told you what to do when? Instead, you just seem to know anyway, but now it gets complicated. You are becoming a teenager and you just know that you want a car when you turn sixteen (16) years old. Many parents will tell you to go out and earn the money or maybe they will allow you to drive their car I the meantime. A little negotiation occurs here where you might have to pay for gas, earn good grades in exchange for the privilege.
There are more opportunities for negotiation, but it depends on the family. Do you want to go to college, travel or just move out? You need to earn money to do many of these things and it is different in every family. Maybe your issue is to attend college far away from home and your parents are concerned about your ability to handle it.
Children and parents is a constant negotiation! As a parent, we help our children become adults by teaching them a variety of things like values, the difference between right and wrong and how to make decisions to name just a few. Hopefully, parents model the right values and behaviors to their children so they will become productive members of society.
During school or after graduation, you will need to get work to satisfy some of those wants and needs you have accumulated in your short life. It may be your first car, college or just spending money. You have to negotiate with strangers for a job, car dealers for a car and it doesn’t stop there! In school you probably had friends, participated in clubs, organizations or sports. You probably negotiated for something by getting a recommendation, with friends or teammates.
As you can see negotiation is not just for things! You negotiate for everything including personal relationships. Yes, dating is a negotiation! With all this experience, why aren’t you better at it? Interviews are a negotiation! Before you actually negotiate your salary, you should give the employer good reasons to want to negotiate a salary with you. You should have researched the company and use the job description to show how you match their requirements. In other words, give the employer a reason to negotiate with you.
Negotiation is in every part of your life, some may call it compromise. You negotiate with your employer, businesses, and people just about everybody. It may be for the purchase of your first home, a marriage proposal, mortgages, loans, products, services and relationships. You negotiate for everything!
When you ask a question, you are negotiating! It is a great way to put the other party off guard. The answer may just help you reach your agreement. I always start my negotiation by asking questions that I know will help me achieve the desired outcome. For example, when turned down on a price, I ask what I need to do to get my price. In most cases, the other party will tell you what they want. Don’t you ask the car dealer, if they would take $X for the car? When they say no, you are still negotiating! Ask a question!
Photo by: Jean-Louis Zimmermann