Negotiating Tip #4:
How To Make Negotiating More Fun
Why do so many people find negotiating painful? To understand the issue, we need to look at what negotiating is all about. If the two sides completely agree, then they are not really negotiating: they are just finalizing what they already agree to. The essence of negotiation is overcoming a disagreement. That is the reason we are at the negotiating table: the other side does not accept our position.
That means a negotiation is all about disagreement, or, to be more blunt, conflict. Most of us dislike conflict. We are taught from an early age that to get along with others is a good. If we are disagreeing vigorously with the other side, we are often afraid that will lower their opinion of us: they will think we are being unreasonable, and they won’t like us – things we want to avoid. When there is a big gap between our position and the other side, we feel particularly uncomfortable.
The conflict built into negotiations is going to strongly affect what we do. Sometimes people just cave in so as to avoid conflict. Other times people become belligerent to cover over their discomfort. Neither of those approaches work very well in most case.
That’s why to negotiate better, it’s not enough to just get a list of tactics and strategies, but you have to see and experience negotiations so you can better understand how to deal with the pressures and tension of negotiating. So you don’t get overwhelmed by the conflict that’s baked into the negotiating process.
Is this going to make negotiating fun? No – but it can make negotiating less painful. With luck, negotiating will become like going to the dentist: nobody does it because it’s fun but we all do it because it is necessary.