When I hold my training events or go to associations, organizations or corporations and do training events, sometimes people are surprised that I have an element of personal development inserted into the training. Negotiation is simply discussions to agree on a deal, but it’s not always a business deal. It can be employee to employee, parent to child, spouse to spouse etc. Everything is Negotiable.
The number one thing you need in order to be a good negotiator is confidence, confidence in yourself and your negotiation position. The self confidence comes from doing the inner work. The power is in the work. So how do you get to that level of confidence. You have to work on that person within and find peace within yourself. That means relaxing in grace, remember what matters most, get to know your higher power better, review where you need to grow, forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.
Too many times in my past, I lived in the past. I worried, I wanted to do something to change the past. Thinking about how silly that sounds now makes me laugh. Really? I spent time on thinking about how I could change the past? The “what if’s” and the “if only’s.” I lived with regrets, I held unforgiveness, I was stuck in the tradition of “it’s always been done that way.” Enlightenment comes from doing the work to let go of all that mess. I did the work, I let it go. That doesn’t mean that life will never give me a punch to my gut. It happens, that’s part of life. I may regret poor choices I’ve made at some point but if I did something to make those choices or wrongs right and keep moving forward, that’s all I can do. I have to forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.
Many things have happened to me over the last year. Some good, some bad. Some that made me very happy and others that made me very sad. If I chose to stay in yesterday and regret some of the things I’ve done, choices I’ve made or experiences I’ve had, then I will be stuck in those events and day to day life will pass me by. It’s challenging sometimes to move on after a loss or when life’s challenges knock on your door. How you negotiate through those challenges and where you come out on the other side is the true test of courage and faith.
Inner peace is the thing in life we should strive for the most and is priceless beyond any possession or level of success we can possibly achieve. It doesn’t mean we will never be rocked to our core by life but going down that path with peace as our foundation gives us a better place to deal with life’s challenges from.
As you become a better negotiator in professional life, remember also the personal side of your life is also an area to achieve negotiation mastery in.
Note: Some of the concepts were adapted from the message from Saddleback church/Pastor Rick Warren’s message on Five Daily Habits for Happiness
One of the tips in my upcoming Think Like A Negotiator book is “Prepare In Advance.” Part of the preparation includes another tip, which is “Verify the Facts.”
When you are preparing for a negotiation it is always best to verify the facts. Verifying what you have been presented is a way to ensure you have the truth about the information given to you.
Many times we take things at face value and later find out that what we thought to be true actually wasn’t true at all. Perhaps we have some information that is factual and we make a decision about those facts without looking further to uncover the rest of the story. Maybe you made an agreement for a fee and when the charge came in it was much higher than what you agreed to or you got double charged for something on your business or credit card statement.
Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar deal or simply some information you’ve gathered from a friend, before you decide to take the data as factual, you may want to consider doing some further research to ensure that the data is accurate. If it’s a large contract and either the numbers are wrong or the proposal has an error, it could mean a large loss of funds or time. I once managed a contract where the bid was submitted missing a $300,000 cost. It was a fixed price bid so we had no oversight into the costs submitted. The bidder didn’t verify that all the facts were accurate before they submitted the bid and ended up losing the funds to cover that portion of the work. They realized it after the fact and brought it to my attention over 2 years into the contract. At that point we were unable to do anything to approve that cost due to the amount of time that had passed. Verifying the facts before they submitted the bid would have caught that error before the bid was submitted.
What about in our personal lives? Often times we get some information and go on those facts without further verification. It can be something that may cause unneeded stress in our lives. I know of someone who was told his wife was cheating on him with another man. They told him who the man was and he went straight to the man and beat him up for being with his wife. He didn’t verify the facts first and later found out that it was not true. Had he taken the time to verify the facts before he acted, that unnecessary assault would have been avoided.
You might have made a payment with your business card for a hotel room. It’s important to verify the charges on your bill to ensure they are accurate. Someone I knew recently went to a hotel for an event. She was going to originally stay 3 nights and changed the reservation to only one night due to some work she had to take care of before going to the event. When she got her bill there was a one night “no show” charge plus the charge for the one night stay. She had to call the hotel to have the charge credited. She caught it by verifying the facts on her billing statement.
In whatever area of your life, business, employment, personal, be sure to take the time to verify the facts. It will save you in the long run.
Negotiation is all about how we communicate and it’s one of the areas to consider when preparing for a negotiation. Language is so important. The words we use can often be construed in different ways to have different meanings depending on who is doing to receiving. In negotiation, you must be sure the language you are using conveys the appropriate message to gain the appropriate response. How you say it may ensure you win or lose the deal.
Most of you who have been following me have noticed my shift to showing people how to Think Like A Negotiator. People often ask me why I have made the focus on negotiation vs my Pink Biker Chic brand. I have responded by telling them that it’s negotiation is my genius and I never thought to teach it. I tell them about a good friend of mine who is a business strategist was having some contract challenges with a client; I shared some of my contracts knowledge to help her resolve the issue. Her response was “I get this Pink Biker Chic thing, but where did all that come from and why aren’t you teaching it to others?” I share that I thought why would anybody want to learn that? It’s my genius, I do it in my sleep and take it for granted that everyone has that knowledge.
Well, recently I was at an event and passed someone who said he knew me but couldn’t remember where from. I knew him too from somewhere and told him he probably knew me from my Pink Biker Chic brand and explained the story above. He immediately launched into this idea that I don’t value myself and have issues and need to resolve those issues with him so I value myself and my genius. Then he attempted to hard sell me into doing a session with him to fix my issues within myself so I will be successful, basically implying I am not successful because I don’t value myself. It was much more than that but you get the gist. WOW! Really? Thankfully another friend walked up and started talking to him so that provided a pattern interrupt for me to depart which I did.
What that did for me was enable me to take a look at my language and evaluate whether that was a message I am projecting when I share my story. I certainly don’t have the serious issues that he implied. Of course we all have some kind of doubt about ourselves but he was attempting to tell me I was broken and that I really needed serious help. This is without even taking the time to find out anything about me.
Be careful of the language you use. I’m not talking about being politically correct. Chances are we will offend someone with what we say, but if we evaluate our normal “shtick” to make sure we aren’t projecting negatively onto ourselves or others, we will be better off in day to day communication as well as our significant negotiations. Take the time this week to pay close attention to the things you say. You may need to make an adjustment based on feedback and results. I sure did.
Many times discussions occur to resolve some sort of dispute. You may end up going back and forth on an issue to get it resolved and find that the other side just isn’t doing anything to resolve the issue. When it gets to that point, it is time to draw the line and push your position hard over to the other side. It may require indicating you will take some sort of action if they don’t resolve the problem within a reasonable time. That could mean going to court, reporting the company to an agency like the Better Business Bureau or the individual to the board or organization such as the Bar for an Attorney, the IRS for a tax professional, the Medical Association for a Doctor etc.
I prefer to use this strategy as a last resort. However, when it comes down to something that will in the end negatively affect me, my business or my family or personal life somehow, it becomes time for no more Ms. Nice Girl.
A had a situation where a service establishment was handling some professional work for my company. Their action and failure of action had resulted in my getting in trouble with the state and being assessed significant penalties. It was their fault, they admitted to it and I worked with them for months to get them to resolve it, which they did not. I finally had to draw the line and tell the owner of the company that if this wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction, not only was I going to report them to the Government agency that governed their profession, I was also going to send out a letter to 2 organizations where they had significant business dealings and were referral partners with those organizations. These two actions would have significant impact on their business.
I was prepared to go through with it, otherwise I wouldn’t use this strategy. The way I saw it they left me no choice. I sent them a 3 page letter in writing outlining everything that had occurred. I purposely did that so I would have the entire scenario already outlined for the other agencies so if I needed to send the information, I could simply sent that letter. That got some action pretty quick and although the problem is still being resolved, I will soon have the documentation that should clear my record with the state, which is all I wanted in the first place.
Bottom line, when a dispute can’t be resolved, draw the line and push back hard. You will get results or at least know if you need to elevate it to the next level such as court or some other formal proceedings.