Negotiating Tip #5:
Negotiating With Your Family And Negotiating In Business
We all negotiate with friends, significant others, kids – about where to go for dinner, about what to do for the holidays, and a zillion other things. Those negotiations have some important similarities with business negotiations, but they have even more important differences.
Here is an anecdote from Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, which highlights the huge gap between social and business negotiations. He describes going to his mother-in-law’s place for Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago. At the end of the dinner, he said, “Here, here. I have something I’d like to say: Mom, you really outdid yourself this year. The turkey was browned to perfection, the stuffing was to die for and all the fixings were out of this world. I don’t know how to thank you enough for making this Thanksgiving feast such a special one. But this may help. If we’d eaten all this at a restaurant it would have set me back at least a couple hundred bucks, and it wouldn’t have been half as good as this. So… to show my heart’s in the right place, how about if I give you $300 bucks for this marvelous meal? Oops, where’s my manners? It ought to be closer to $400.”
At that point, his mother-in-law actually fell clean off her chair. And he was left wondering where he’d gone wrong.
Of course, Ariely is using exaggeration here. He is one of the leading “behavioral economists” and the author of several best-selling books, including Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty.
Ariely’s point is that we relate to the world in different ways. In social settings, one set of rules applies: we want to be liked, we don’t want to offend, we want to get along. In the business world, our objectives are entirely different. We want to make money for the company. Sure it would be nice if the other side liked us, but that is NOT our objective. When we negotiate for business, we need to shift over from the social mode that we use most of the time to a business mode which we use much less.
What we at Mobus Creative Negotiating teach is ways to condition yourself to make that shift – to understand what it involves, and to know how to put that into practice.