Q & A Table of Contents
HOW TO BE A COOL NEGOTIATOR
From: Norwalk, Connecticut
Question: I'm 13 and need an answer.. I heard that the basic things you need to be a good negotiator is to act cool, don't attract attention, and never tell them the bad part of the deal. Is this information true?
Response: Acting cool is a good part of successful negotiation -- but there is a big if: you need to make sure it is not just an act. The 'coolness' you need for successful negotiation really means keeping a cool analytical head. You should prepare ahead of time if you have a chance: what do I want and WHY do I want it? What do they want and WHY do they want what they want?
During the process, you should find ways to take a step back from the discussion and look at what is going on -- with that same cool head. 'Why did he/she say that? What arguments or tactics are being used that are convincing -- or are turn-offs?"
Don't attract attention is a bit of a problem in negotiation. People don't want to negotiate with someone who can't make and deliver on an agreement. You may not want outsiders to witness a negotiation, particularly if it involves a confidential issue. But to negotiate in the real world, you've got to really be involved if you expect other parties to take the process seriously.
If you negotiate without telling people about the bad part of the deal, they have every right to come back after the agreement and say, "Why didn't you tell me about that?" Of course, you have to be sensible about how and when you communicate the 'bad news'. Listen for questions that show you what others are likely to be worried about. If they ask a direct question, tell the truth. If they aren't direct with their questions, but you know the issue would be important to you if you were in their shoes, there's nothing wrong with trying to find out if they care about that issue as much as you do. Your parents may disapprove of a particular tape or CD; another person may not have that problem. So what's bad news for you may not be bad news for them.
Don't forget , you can fight fires without burning bridges, Steve.