Whether you need your co-parent to agree on financial obligations for your children, ask for a raise from your boss, or debate with your teenager, knowing how to effectively negotiate is key for preserving relationships.
After all, using strong-arm tactics might win you the battle in the short term, yet ultimately lose you the war, or more specifically, valuable relationships.
So, how can you get what you want in negotiation while keeping the relationship intact?
Here are 4 tips for successfully negotiating and preserving the relationship:
1. Figure out what you’re willing to give up.
Relationships are all about compromise — giving up something you value individually for something that two people value.
For instance, In a personal relationship, you might give up some of your personal freedom for enjoying companionship. And business negotiations aren’t much different.
Therefore, you might prepare for the negotiation by asking yourself what you want to give up.
This will likely put you in a much stronger position to manage your emotions. It will also shift you to respond rather than react when the time comes for you to give up what you planned.
2. Shift into a cooperative mindset.
Start with a smile. A genuine smile stimulates positive emotions. Not just for you but for others as well.
At the same time, focus on working with, not against, each other, to come up with a solution that would benefit both of you. Shift your perspective to a win-win solution.
Likewise, a positive mindset drives your actions. People tend to respond to others’ actions with similar actions, as social science research has found. If others cooperate with us and treat us with respect, we tend to respond in kind.
3. Build Trust by forging a connection.
In any negotiation, identifying the other person’s interests is key to a win-win solution.
Start by asking open-ended questions, then listen carefully and sincerely to understand where the other person is coming from.
For example, you might show you’re listening by leaning in towards the other person and making validating comments like “I understand.” or “I hear you.”
The reciprocal nature of trust reinforces the value of taking time to get to know the other person and build rapport before you start negotiating.
You might forge a personal connection by initiating friendly small talk. Research shows that after spending even just five minutes in small talk helps people feel more cooperative and likely to share more information in negotiations.
4. Know when to take a break.
If things start to get heated, it’s generally best to call a time-out. If the conversation turns ugly, you can choose to fight it out – and risk damaging the relationship – or preserve the relationship by putting on the brakes.
You might offer to take some time to give the negotiation some thought and ask when a good time might be to continue the conversation.
Generally, before any negotiation, it helps to consider the value to you of preserving the relationship. When there’s significant value, the chances of reaching a win-win solution generally become much greater when you put in the effort to proceed with forethought and clear intention.
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