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Negotiation 101

written by Zoubida Kortobi August 21, 2017
Zoubida Kortobi

By Zoubida Kortobi

Engineer by degree, Entrepreneur by profession and researcher by passion.

In business and in life’s most random activities, one happens to negotiate quite often. Negotiation is an art that positive minds succeed easily. Although it may seem a bit strategically manipulative, it is absolutely not. Positive people are solution-oriented and ready to discuss and accept the change.

The issue at stake in negotiating is not necessarily showing off one’s knowledge but coming up with a deal that would suit each party and make the relationship evolve in a positive way.

Unless one is of a high expertise in a subject, chances of being wrong are always present. Experts themselves are always subject to self-evaluation and are constantly learning from others, from the even more experimented and from the much less experimented. The only party we can control is ourselves. We have no ability to control the other party, thus we do not know their reaction in advance. As such, staying genuine and not being afraid to say “I don’t know” will show respect and mindfulness.

The key to succeeding in any negotiating task is to be ready for it and to prepare it. Preparation is the main part of the homework. Having a positive, open mind is also important and helps showing goodwill to the person or group one is dealing with. When one is ready for a discussion and has their answers already planned and studied, negotiation goes very well and its output is very satisfying.

Showing to the other negotiator that you are confident and that you know what you are talking about will build trust and ease. However, too much confidence leads to a certain arrogance that may have a negative interpretation and make you lose a good opportunity of growth. There is no bigger turn-off than a negotiator who claims knowing everything about everything. It is seen as a clear sign of pedantism. Noone knows everything, ever. There is always someone more expert and more capable of giving better answers. The ultimate way to go is to accept the debate with a decent and humble way. Not only the other party will appreciate it, but it will also show your lenient and flexible side.
The main purpose of any deal is not to prove one is always right. The main purpose of a deal is the make the deal work and be productive.

As a deal maker or as a mother, a woman is always faced with situations where she would have to negotiate. Negotiation skills can be honed at home as well simply because the toughest dealmakers are children. What makes children tough negotiators is their weakness in a subject or in another. And what triggers their weakness is their lack of knowledge. Explaining to a child who has absolutely no knowledge about macronutients or daily fiber intake that eating salad is better than having a Kinder Délice is no easy task. However, settling goals together and rewarding the child everytime a milestone is reached can go a long way. This way, the task of making the child eat the salad and making a habit out of it will be confirmed and on the other hand, he or she will have their Kinder Délice.

I personally like face-to-face negotiations. They show a genuine attitude and a straightforward aspect of my personality. Negotiating via email gives the weaker party the opportunity to look for weak and unstable justifications and craft them. Having a direct link and speaking face-to-face, in any situation, not only creates a good communication, but also builds trust and connection.
Have you ever received a phone call from your child asking if they can have an extra ice cream pot or go outside with a friend without a trusted guardian? If your answer to your child was: “let me come home and discuss this”, you totally get what I am saying.

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8 comments

Caroline August 23, 2017 at 11:52 am

I would say it’s OK to negotiate if it’s over something that’s not a big deal, like what clothes the kid will wear that day or what to watch on TV. But if it’s over something where it’s the child’s health and safety, then there should be no negotiation.

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Jawaher August 23, 2017 at 11:54 am

Excellent article, I wanted to know everyones opinion on going from a negotiation with a child and then moving on to a compromise. I was looking after a family members child and we went for a walk to the park and then petting zoo. The area in which the animals was clearly marked that children need to remain close to their parents in certain areas because there were bridges in places where a child could easily fall. I wanted to hold the childs hand to keep him close and safe. The child had picked up some pine cones which he was keeping in his shirt and needed to use both arms to hold the many cones he had collected. He refused to leave the pine cones so we could go see the animals. I said ” thats fine, if you do not want to leave the cones then we go home”. He cried because he didnt want to go home but still refused to leave the pine cones. My wife negotiated with him after much debate that he could keep them in all the different pockets he had and we could them go see the animals. He was reluctant but eventually did. Now I feel that logically it made sense for him to do so because he could then carry the items and I could then hold his hand. how ever I feel its not teaching him respect. I did explain to him why I needed him to leave the cones and he refused to listen to me. Now I am sure some people would say that the negotiation was the right thing to do. How ever I see this strategy being done with this child often and I can assure you, you have to negotiate everything with him now. He is often so unreasonable. I am interested to hear your thoughts on when to not negotiate and when to compromise? I have seen this same thing with his older brother whom now, if you want him to eat his vegetables he immediately goes into negotiation. He would present the idea that he is going to eat some vegetables but then some candy. He will clean his room, if you buy him a toy. He will put on one shoe when getting ready in order for something else he wants.

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Victoria August 23, 2017 at 11:56 am

I don’t negotiate with my kids, I think it would confuse them… It seems that allowing negotiation would undermine that, and give the child the impression that the parent isn’t confident in the boundary they are enforcing… Wouldn’t it make more sense to tell the child in the first place if a particular request is a choice, instead of giving an instruction and then allowing them to negotiate their way out of it?”

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Christina August 23, 2017 at 11:57 am

Victoria is right, of course. If we know that a limit is firm, and we’re not open to negotiation, then we need to make that clear:
“The rule is you feed the dog before you come to the dinner table.”
“We don’t drive the car until everyone has their seat belts on.”

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Samed August 23, 2017 at 11:59 am

Raising children makes parents better persons. One of the many things parents can do is to listen, learn, and change with their children through negotiation.

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Ashley August 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I think this puts it right to the point about how to negotiate with kids.

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Kimberley August 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Amazing and instructive article

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Yoanis August 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I hope to be able to apply this rule, unfortunately my children do not respect me :'(

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