Negotiating Tip #13:
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
The reason you are in a negotiation is because you and the other party disagree. If the two sides saw eye-to-eye about everything, then you could just move ahead and would not need to negotiate.
Disagreeing often makes us uncomfortable. We naturally prefer to get along with other people. We do not want to be thought of as the party-pooper or the skunk at the picnic. Yet that risk is what we are being paid to do when we are sent in to negotiate a better deal for our firm.
Which brings out the essential point that business life is not like our social life. In social settings or with family members, most of us try to get along with others; if we can’t, we regard that as a shortcoming. But things are entirely different at work, where it is appropriate behavior to be pushy.
You are being paid to stand up for your firm’s interests; you are not being paid to make friends with the other side. That said, the paradox is that people may think more highly of you if you are seen as a tireless advocate for your firm. And they may think less of you if in business negotiations, you are always accommodating the wishes of others.
The trick is to disagree without being disagreeable. One needs to make clear to the other side that this negotiation is all about business; it is not personal. You shouldn’t make concessions just because you personally like the other team, and by taking a tough stance, you are not saying you can’t stand them as people.