Keep talking

I spend an unbelievable amount of time either negotiating myself or quarterbacking other peoples’ negotiations.

This doesn’t mean I’m good at it. In fact, I think I’m probably only an average negotiator, at best.

But it does mean I’ve learned some things.

And the most important of these is: Keep talking.

Fairly often, I find that the other side gets angry and shuts off communication. Often, they’re hoping that the situation will just go away if they bury their heads in the sand.

But those kinds of situations rarely go away. And not talking doesn’t help.

The right thing to do, instead, is to figure out what it would take you to say “yes” to what the other side is asking for. This might prompt you to come up with a whole list of demands, each one intended to take away some aspect of the pain of saying “yes”. That’s fine.

If the other side is serious, they will seek to accommodate you. You may not get exactly what you want, but it’s likely you can come to a satisfactory bargain, one which makes everyone better off than they were before the negotiation started.

But the only way to get there is to be willing to sit down with an open mind and talk.