loader image
Skip to main content

It may not have always been that way, but few people can argue that the ability to effectively negotiate has become a very valuable and sought-after skill both on socially and professionally.

If mastered, it can be a very useful tool when it comes to conflict management and let’s face it, there is no shortage of conflict-based situations in most workplaces. You can have conflicts with colleagues, superiors and business partners. Your ability to effectively negotiate your way through these conflicts can be one of the defining factors of your career’s failure or success.

Effective Negotiating can also be just as important in our personal lives and can have a significant influence on our social circle. We are living through very intense global times at the moment. The last couple of years alone we’ve been through a pandemic, a war and a couple of global economic crises to name a few. Each of those comes along with a wide range of conflicting opinions that often come up during social conversations (sometimes in a very tense and emotional manner). Your ability to effectively address these discussions can have a great impact on your ability to maintain and expand your social circle.

So let us take a closer look at the 3 main pillars of Effective Negotiations and how we can use them to help us navigate tough conflicts.

Identity

When we are involved in a conflict, our opinion would naturally be a reflection of our core beliefs and values. So, when we are met with a conflicting opinion, we will sometimes subconsciously take it as an attack on those core values. It suddenly starts to feel as an attack against our own identity rather than the topic we are debating. 

Once that happens, emotions start to take over making it harder for us to remain objective. So, while we should continue to express our core beliefs, we should not allow ourselves to take the conflict personally. 

A conflict of opinion and a personal attack aimed at one’s identity are two entirely different things but apparently can be quite easy to confuse for each other.

Appreciation

Let’s face it, we all love feeling appreciated. It comes hand in hand with a personal sense of validation that we as human beings are just wired to enjoy. Awareness of this fact can be helpful in setting the scene for smoother negotiations.

Start by giving other side a chance to talk and make their point. Put yourself in their shoes and look at the situation from their perspective. Put effort into genuinely understanding where they’re coming from rather than simply waiting for them to stop talking so you can hit them with your counter argument.

The result is, you just might see the logic in their stance and that can influence your take on the matter. Even if you don’t though, your clear willingness to genuinely listen would not go unnoticed. 

It would be a clear sign that you appreciate their perspective even if it’s in disagreement with yours and that can only pave the way for a much more productive conversation.   

Affiliation

Don’t treat the conflict as a battle against an adversary, your purpose here should not simply be winning the argument. 

The real victory would be finding a common ground that you’re both satisfied with and in doing so, you would turn the other person from an adversary into an ally. As a smart negotiator, that is what you should be aiming for.

Influence the conversation in that direction so that it turns from a “you against me” situation into a “us against a common problem” situation.

Final Thoughts

The best negotiators are those who have the self-restraint to keep their ego in check during a heated discussion. Their aim is not to simply defeat the other side, they think bigger. Their ultimate goal is to find the best possible solution that can benefit both sides of the argument.

Is this always possible? Does such a solution exist for every conflict? Definitely not. But it should always be the initial goal of an effective negotiator.

Keywords: Effective negotiations, Identity, Appreciation, Affiliation, conflict management
Reference: (40) Harvard negotiator explains how to argue | Dan Shapiro – YouTube    

Leave a Reply