Whether you’re a leader or not, you need negotiation skills. Sometimes you might blow it, so it’s good to understand why. Here’s how not to negotiate.
Of course, you want to create a win-win situation. So, understand the difference between interest and position. The best negotiation tactic is to focus on the interest. Here’s a little story to illustrate that:
Two chefs reached for the last egg in the refrigerator at the same time. The first said, “I need this egg, and I’m the senior chef around here, so it’s mine!” The second replied, “I need this egg, and I’m the more popular chef, so it’s mine!” A struggle ensued and the egg ended up broken on the floor.
How not to negotiate – focus on position.
Not the best negotiation strategy! Not exactly a win-win situation. Each chef held on to a position of deserving the egg. Neither asked about or shared his own interest in it. It turns out that one chef was making hollandaise and just needed the yolk, and the other was making a meringue and only needed the white.
It’s a silly story, but we play it out every day. Little tiffs, arguments, and misunderstandings are the result of each person holding a position, and not sharing their interest. And we have trouble showing grace under pressure.
The best negotiation strategy is to find a common interest. Once you learn the reason for the request or idea, it’s much easier to negotiate:
- Try to understand why before you respond to a request with your position.
- Explain why before you make a request.
- If you get stuck, go back to the why, or the interest in the idea.
- Assume most people have a positive intent and are not out to get you.
How not to negotiate? Focus on your position! But, if you understand the interest of the other person, you are more likely to get to that win-win situation. That’s the best negotiation strategy.