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Life’s Negotiations – Insights I Learned

realty-1151243_1280One of the first eye-opening things I learned at the University of Baltimore in the Negotiation and Conflict Management program was that we negotiate every single day of our lives. Stuart Diamond writes in Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, ” Negotiation is at the heart of human interaction. Every time people interact, there is negotiation going on: verbally or nonverbally, consciously or unconsciously“.

I never considered myself much of a negotiator until I started at UB. I never took into account that every time I spoke with someone about what we would have for dinner; what would we be doing on Friday night; or what color would we paint the living room, etc. would actually be a negotiation. I found this realization to be eye-opening because when I thought of people negotiating, I often thought of serious businesspeople in suits or a car lot salesmen or real estate agent. So when I had my first negotiation class, I naively thought the skills I would be learning would only be useful in a business setting or if I was buying a car – but I was wrong.

I want to share this week some tips I learned in my negotiation class that helps me in my everyday life.

The first thing I learned was from Roger Fisher and William Ury’s international bestseller book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In which is “separate the people from the problem”. It was a fantastic insight because I would often equate the person as THE PROBLEM. I would forget that people bring their emotions, values, and perspectives about the problem to every discussion as do I. Acknowledge the individual’s perspective and name the problem or issue between the two of you. For example, the issue is the purchase of your first home. Just because your spouse wants a colonial and you want a ranch-style home does not make one person the sole problem in selecting your perfect home. By not acknowledging that the person you are negotiating with is an individual who has their emotions, values and perspectives you are hindering the success of the negotiation.

The second thing I learned is that every individual, a negotiator, has a particular set of interests they are trying to satisfy, and it is important to focus on those and not on positions. Roger Fisher and William Ury in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In explains, “Desires and concerns are interests. Interests motivate people; Your position is something you have decided upon“. Let’s go back to the house hunting. You decide you must have the ranch-style home. In your mind, this is it. It is your position or your strongly held decision. Your spouse says it must be a 2-story colonial. He grew up in one and there is no other way to live. Done deal. Negotiating on a position one might have can often lead to a deadlock where no solutions are generated and no house bought. However, negotiating on someone’s interests allows you to learn more about their concerns and provides you more room for discussion and resolution.

The third thing I learned, communication is everything in a negotiation. Whether you are negotiating with a business partner over the next big investment or with your significant other over where to go for dinner, what house to buy, or where to enjoy vacation – communication is essential in coming to a decision. It is important to be explicit in our interests and communicate them to the other person. It is also crucial to listen to the other party to hear their interests and concerns. Both sides then must be aware that one party may put a special meaning or emphasis on a particular interest which may bear no weight or special meaning to the other person. Therefore, clarifying and asking questions is imperative for better understanding.

The final thing I wanted to share may have been the most powerful thing I learned, and that is to view the person I am negotiating with as a partner and not an adversary. The example they gave in class is rather than thinking of yourselves sitting on opposite sides of a table think of yourselves sitting side-by-side both looking for an outcome that is mutually beneficial. By reframing the way you look at the person you are negotiating with, you provide yourself with an opportunity to be more open-minded and willing to engage in constructive conversation that could benefit both parties in achieving their desired outcomes.

Check out our negotiation series this month http://www.texasconflictcoach.com/category/upcoming-shows/

 

Happy Negotiating,

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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Fido & Kitty: When Public and Private Venues Square Off-Part 2

 

Debra Hamilton-2013Gary NormanDuring our series, esteemed leaders in law and dispute resolution Ms. Debra Hamilton of New York and Mr. Gary Norman of Maryland will discuss applying traditional as well as virtual Alternative Dispute Resolution tools in resolution of conflicts among people involving their animals. We will focus on everyday events that impact pet ownership including divorce, neighbor, kennel, groomer vet or dog walker/dog park issues and in particular conflicts involving service or assistive animals. The public, as well as practitioners in the legal or Alternative Dispute Resolution fields will learn the importance of having these difficult conversations in divorce, the neighborhood, the tavern, and the workplace involving animal related conflicts. Debra and Gary will explore how alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation or collaborative practice, help progress these difficult conversations towards resolution without litigation. In discussing the kinds of arenas where conflicts about animals may arise, our guests will address various legal issues that might be involved in the mediation of animal conflicts, including a two-part episode looking at issues implicated by the misuse of service animal status by the general public.

In this two-part episode, the co-speakers will discuss a hotbed arena where a myriad of conflicts continually arise involving the access of service animals in civil society.


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Fido & Kitty: When Public and Private Venues Square Off-Part 1

Debra Hamilton-2013Gary Norman During our series, esteemed leaders in law and dispute resolution Ms. Debra Hamilton of New York and Mr. Gary Norman of Maryland will discuss applying traditional as well as virtual Alternative Dispute Resolution tools in resolution of conflicts among people involving their animals. We will focus on every day events that impact pet ownership including divorce, neighbor, kennel, groomer vet or dogwalker/dogpark issues and in particular conflicts involving service or assistive animals. The public as well as practitioners in the legal or Alternative Dispute Resolution fields will learn the importance of having these difficult conversations in divorce, the neighborhood, the tavern, and the workplace involving animal related conflicts. Debra and Gary will explore how alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation or collaborative practice, help progress these difficult conversations towards resolution without litigation. In discussing the kinds of arenas where conflicts about animals may arise, our guests will address various legal issues that might be involved at the mediation of animal conflicts, including a two-part episode looking at issues implicated by the misuse of service animal status by the general public. In this two-part episode, the co-speakers will discuss a hot bed arena where a myriad of conflicts continually arise involving the access of service animals in civil society.

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Another Arrow in Your Dispute Resolution Quiver: Animal Conflicts and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Debra Hamilton-2013Gary NormanDuring our series, esteemed leaders in law and dispute resolution Ms. Debra Hamilton of New York and Mr. Gary Norman of Maryland will discuss applying traditional as well as virtual Alternative Dispute Resolution tools in resolution of conflicts among people involving their animals. We will focus on every day events that impact pet ownership including divorce, neighbor, kennel, groomer vet or dogwalker/dogpark issues and in particular conflicts involving service or assistive animals. The public as well as practitioners in the legal or Alternative Dispute Resolution fields will learn the importance of having these difficult conversations in divorce, the neighborhood, the tavern, and the workplace involving animal related conflicts. Debra and Gary will explore how alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation or collaborative practice, help progress these difficult conversations towards resolution without litigation. In discussing the kinds of arenas where conflicts about animals may arise, our guests will address various legal issues that might be involved at the mediation of animal conflicts, including a two-part episode looking at issues implicated by the misuse of service animal status by the general public.

In this episode, the co-speakers will introduce listeners to the subfield within Alternative Dispute Resolution of animal related conflicts. Debra Hamilton and Gary Norman will tell you the what, where and how to include animal related conflicts in to your practice and how you can use the full range of tools available to alternative dispute resolution practitioners to assist these parties find their own solution to such conflicts.

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