Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rationality is important, but it’s not enough!

Everyone handles negotiations differently. In fact some people see everything as a negotiation while others view very few aspects of life up for negotiation. In my family we were always given choices (probably because we were little Montessori kids). Water the plants or clean the dishes. Get a weekly salary for a list of tasks or get paid by the number of tasks you could complete. Pretty much we were taught to be open and honest about our wants and needs. The underlying factors behind my families motives were fairly clear. Expectations were set and decisions were easily resolved.

However, to this day I have never pictured myself as a negotiator. I have friends who tell me to play hardball with potential employers, shoot for a high salary and expect them to counter. They even suggest telling family members one story so that they will not react badly to another. I have struggled with these common negotiation techniques and have even tried a few.
A recent article by Rebacca Clay in the Monitor on Psychology (May 2010) brought to light the true genius of my negotiation skills. She writes about Daniel Shapiro, a PhD from Amherst who specializes in negotiations. Shapiro has toured with past presidents and travels the world helping governments negotiate. Years ago he started to wonder “how you bring helpful, positive emotions into the negotiating process?” His research is showing that negotiators who focus on appreciation, affiliation, autonomy and emotions build trust, respect and foster honesty so that “many of the defenses start to fall away and opponents start to focus more seriously on the real underlying issues” not emotional dynamics.

So the next time you are in a debate put down your guard and be honest. Tell your future employer what you would like, honestly! Then, SURPRISED when they hand it over!

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