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Be civil or go home

Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

16 Civility

Civility implies respectful approval in any encounter or negotiation between two parties. The root of civility, or cordial respect shown to others on principle, is dignity, or self-respect.

Losing your temper, using foul language, bad-mouthing someone involved in or outside the negotiations, bullying, intimidating, making threats, or breaking confidence and trust, all show a lack of dignity, self-control, and maturity. Such displays are often intended to give you more power in a negotiation. But, in fact, they weaken your negotiation position by placing you on lower moral ground. They diminish your authority and your reputation, and reflect poorly on any entities you may represent.

Negotiation is, at its essence, a game played for mutual stakes in a relational context. Civility is the most basic protocol to help both parties achieve the ideal outcome of a win-win solution. When you abandon civility, you often sabotage your greater goal for a petty victory in the moment. Any apparent gains from explosions of incivility are often short-lived and costly in long-term effects. Incivility is simply bad business.

Very seldom do life or death, solvency or insolvency, hang on the outcome of a negotiation. But even when they do, civility (perhaps combined with chutzpah) is the best road to a positive outcome. And if the worst-case outcome – the loss of something valuable, important, or vital to your personal or financial well-being – seems inevitable, incivility will rarely change the outcome.


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