I am in no way an expert on negotiating. Let’s just start with that statement. The Art of Negotiating has been a studied and well-written about subject for the past 100 years. You can pick up a great book about it. You can take a webinar on negotiating. You can attend a seminar. You can become an expert at negotiating. Learning how to negotiate is rational stuff. We all need to learn to negotiate in life. However, that’s not what this blog post is about.
The art of negotiating is a delicate balance in dealing with people that we all need to learn. I admit, I am not great it it. Some are born with the gift of negotiating. There is a give and take to negotiating. It just happens that negotiating means meeting in the middle. It means that to get what you want, you have to give something up. That’s how it usually works in life. It just happens that having children has changed my view of negotiating, because most children don’t know how to negotiate. A child’s method of negotiating can turn into a full-blown bratty screaming “I will not take a bath!” I tell him that if he takes a bath, he will get some ice cream afterwords. Instead of negotiating with me, he just screams, repeats himself and runs away. Even worse, now he cries for just the ice cream, and no bath. Well, that as you know is not exactly negotiating. It is what I am referring to as The Art of Not Negotiating.
And quite frankly this blog post is not about my 5 year old son. I wish it just was about him. I actually thought that most people understand that you have to negotiate. Some kids don’t negotiate, cry and just want what they want. They usually don’t exactly get what they want. Hopefully there is a lesson there.
There are different tactics in negotiating. For instance, I once negotiated a job via email many years ago, where I asked for every possible perk and salary I could get or not get, like a high salary, 100% paid medical, additional weeks of vacation, paid education, work at home, 401k immediately, a parking spot. They came back and basically could not deliver on 95% of what I asked for. I got the parking spot. So, when it came to the salary, they found that they had to give in to some level. We negotiated the deal. I got a great salary. They were happy with my work. I ended up working there 6 years and we got along after negotiating. It happens.
When you don’t negotiate and you come into a situation making demands without any room for negotiating possible, you are quite frankly damaging the long term relationship. That is the strategy that I recently ran into. I could say it was with my 5 year old son, but it wasn’t. People who think they can make demands and believe they always get what they want are either egomaniacs or never learned the lesson I am trying to teach my 5 year old. You have to give a little to get a little.