Negotiating for better results – lesson from a little kiddo

Life is tough for sure. And with different people in our lives working off of their own minds and conditioning, things can sometimes become really difficult to handle. One can often find oneself in situations where it might be very tough to get others to do what you want them to do. The experts of negotiation try to create as many options for the tough opponent so that s/he can come around to what you want him/her to do.

This “turning around” of the other person through creative negotiating technique and discussion is not easy. It has to be learnt, although some come born with it. LIke how this kid – my son – used it with his mother.

Around the middle of December, he was too much in to his Nintendo Dsi games. One fine day, my wife called him out and he didn’t respond. Fed up with his addiction, she took away to DSi and told him that he was “grounded” for two weeks. No DSi now! The kiddo was disappointed but went out to play and forgot about it. Or so we thought.

After a day, the kid thought the punishment of 2 weeks was quite harsh! So, he sneaked up to his mom, and asked her politely. “Mom, if I do a good deed for you, can you reduce my punishment to 2 days?”.

Enticed by his charm, my wife relented and agreed. Quick on the draw, the kiddo shot back “Thanks, Mom! Ok, so what should I do for you?” She was doing some kitchen work so asked him to help her. Which he did gladly. So, now he had accomplished the task of bringing the “unusually” long 2 weeks to a mere 2 days. Great achievement that.. huh!

Yeah, but the kiddo wasn’t satisfied. After a few hours he realized, even one more day was quite a lot.

So, this time after appealing to his Mom’s Altruism the first time, aimed at her emotional side. “Mom, its the holiday spirit these days, can you excuse my punishment? Why punish me during the festival week?”. There was no hint of desperation or meloncholy. Simply factual argument laid out properly. With a smile. Cute one at that!

The Mom relented again against the onslaught of this emotional hit. Now, my wife is no emotional tear jerker. She is pretty hard to play such hard-ball tactics with. But the little kiddo knew his strengths, the dynamics of his relationships, and his “opponents” weaknesses. He used them to the hilt. Until he had reduced a punishment of 2 weeks to just over a day!!

That’s a negotiating miracle!

Often we lay out our points and the opponent simply refuses to honor it. Then we are stuck. We think we cannot get any headway in the situation. That isn’t the truth. The way to approach that situation is to list all the contentious issues clearly that are the roadblock (have different reactions between you and the opponent). Then, think creatively of all the options that could apepal to the opponent – in the right words – and also work for your goal.

After figuring out “win-win” and appealing arguments, then approach the “opponent” again. This time, without any complaining or whining, just lay things out clearly along with your creative solutions. Chances are the person will come around. Completely sometimes.

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