So much of our daily interactions and activities are absorbed with negotiating that we hardly notice what we’re doing. But the art of negotiating cannot be underrated and often determines whether we get what we want in life, or in that moment, or end up spinning our wheels (or tapping our feet) to someone else’s tune.
Negotiating is not a contest between “good” and “bad” positions. Obstacles are almost never a personal affront. They are just someone else’s short-term agenda conflicting with our own agenda.
Everyday conflicts with strangers. It’s essential that you keep your eyes fixed on the goal and not get absorbed by the personality or lack of understanding that you encounter. You want to help this person to help you. You can do this best by appealing to something that is important to him.
One suggestion would be to appeal to the person’s goodwill or to his desire to wield power. Could he please help you? Appealing to his generosity of spirit enables him to feel good about helping another human being. And you don’t have any objection to him feeling that way, right?
The second approach that works particularly well with people in the service industry who don’t have much control, except over their small domain, is to ask, “What do you suggest I do?” — while casting your eyes about meaningfully for a solution. This serves to recast him from antagonist to trusted problem solver. If he initially comes up with a suggestion that’s not workable just explain why that won’t work and ask for another solution. Then wait patiently. Let him fill the silence. Eventually a solution will be found.
Excerpted from an article in New Mobility magazine, Everyday Negotiating
By David Geffen|September 1st, 2014