EVERYTHING is negotiable? It sounds like an exaggeration…until you think about it. The most obstinate negotiator can be found in the mirror! Have you stopped to think about how often you are negotiating with yourself? Five more minutes of sleep if you don’t wash your hair. Skip breakfast and you can watch one more episode of your favorite series. Finish your project tonight and hang out with friends tomorrow at the beach. Sometimes the outcome is harsh, right?! If you don’t get this done now, you could miss the promotion or let your team down when they were depending on you. Fail to submit your application on time and you will miss consideration by your chosen university for a full-ride scholarship.
When was the last time you were on your third set of situps and you had to reach…you had to dig deep to come up with a position that would motivate you to finish the set? Maybe it sounds something like this: “Last set, just finish. You got this! Stop acting like you can’t – you know you can! You’ve done it before and you can do better! 10 more reps then you’re done. Finish strong!” You likely identified a reward for completing the set. Have you ever penalized yourself for cheating, like adding five more reps when you stopped and took a break knowing you could have finished? The feeling of finishing a difficult set is euphoric.
I’ve learned that there are things I can do now that will make my workout much more effective/tolerable. Primarily, what I eat, how I sleep, and how much water I drink make a lot of difference in my workouts go. Depending on whether I’m lifting or doing cardio, I might intentionally change my approach. Maybe my warmup is shorter or possibly doesn’t target a certain level of strain so I’m preserving energy for lifting weights today. This calculated intention to produce a result is exactly why preparation for negotiation is so essential. You want a specific outcome, so you must consider the minutiae. Because even minor details can wreak havoc on a negotiation, it’s time well spent.
In my experience, we often take short-cuts in preparation that cost us handsomely in outcomes. Although, it’s likely a close tie with not really knowing what outcome we are wanting to achieve. As I’m saying this, I’m thinking about how many times what I thought I wanted from a negotiation, especially when negotiating with my children, was really not at all what I wanted! Part of the problem is we are frequently surprised to discover that we are negotiating. Well I want to offer you some insight today that I think will help you the next time you purpose to think ahead about the negotiation you are going to undertake.
Of all the training courses I’ve taken over the years, my absolute favorite was almost 15 years ago and is as practical today as it was the moment I had my certificate of completion in hand. ENS International was founded in 1978 by Michael Hudson and Leo Hawkins. Hudson’s background was industrial psychology and Hawkins was advertising and marketing. The combination made for a potent negotiating curriculum. I still receive interesting content from them all these years later.
Sorry, a quick rabbit trail with an ax to grind here. Do you know that they don’t email me every week? They don’t email me every day, much less several times per day? There are probably times where I haven’t heard from them for a month. And you know what else? Because their email has perceived value to me, I always open them! Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of “multiple emails per day” marketers? Seriously, it makes me unsubscribe or at least delete without even reading them. I don’t need you in my Inbox with an urgent message multiple times per day. Sorry – just extremely irritated with that. Even people who I respect. Enough.
When you hear from me, it’s something worth listening to…or at least you haven’t told me otherwise.
So anyway, ENSI caught my attention recently when Michael Hudson published a checklist of 25 negotiation protocols that you can use to prepare for your next negotiation. I won’t share them all, and admittedly, some of these are less useful when negotiating with your children then a multi-year supply agreement; however, I encourage you to check out the entire list for yourself using the link in the show notes.
By discussing these items prior to your negotiation, you are eliminating some of the most damaging variables and at the same time establishing common ground with the other party or parties. Consider these elements:
- Where – their place, your place, neutral territory, alternate locations
- Venue set-up – specific requirements, who will control
- Facilities – break-out rooms, data projector/screen, flip charts
- When/duration/timeouts – day of week, time of day, agreeing to start/stop on time, how will you handle the need for a private breakout
- Who – who is coming: numbers, technical knowledge, seniority – doing your homework here is really important so you don’t have to repeat. Are all decision makers present?
- Facilitator? Independent?
- Who gets to set the agenda and how is it agreed?
- Does someone need to take minutes? How will everyone agree that the content is accurate?
- Do you need a parking lot for items that were unexpected?
- Formality – Is formality a priority? First names? Titles? Back to where: does table/seat position matter?
- Approach to the negotiation – agree item-by-item or as a package (nothing is agreed until everything agreed)
- Cross-talk – acceptability of side conversations, note-passing
- Devices – computer, tablet, mobile phone usage
- Other housekeeping – hospitality, refreshments, bio-breaks
So check out the link and review all of the items. You are sure to find something to think about in preparation for making your next negotiation a success. Let me know if you have any favorite prep tips that affected the outcome of a negotiation.
Next week, I’ll share a few pointers that you can use to help you determine whether the other party is lying during a negotiation. Don’t miss it.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Michael Hudson’s Agreeing Negotiation Protocols
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