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Take the high road

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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)

27 Confrontation

Never confront people – always confront issues. When you challenge the other party in a confrontational spirit, you will usually get one of two responses. They will either react defensively or aggressively. Or else they will back down and “lose face,” which generally creates resentment and ill will toward you. Either way, when a conflict develops it can prevent the issue at hand from being resolved.

Emotions and egos are the bane of any negotiation process. Issues don’t have emotions, and they don’t have egos. So it’s always better to confront an issue with the other party, instead of confronting the other party about an issue. You only risk triggering their ego and emotions, and jeopardising the negotiation process.

When a looming or existing problem is presently blocking the path to resolution, you can simply say, in a neutral tone, “How should we deal with this issue?”

Sometimes one has to confront awkward or difficult facts head-on to move a negotiation forward. Reality trumps personal plans and wishful thinking every time. When what you assumed was X turns out to be Y, the discrepancy needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

If the discrepancy is a result of a mistake on their part, tact and diplomacy are essential; confrontation will only create more awkwardness and resistance. If the discrepancy is due to a mistake on your part, the integrity of openly acknowledging your mistake is the best policy for restoring trust and good feeling. Apologising for your part in a misunderstanding shows maturity and dignity, and will likely increase rather than decrease your stature in the other party’s eyes. This should help you reach a compromise based on the current facts.

If the other party becomes confrontational and takes your mistake or the admission of one on your part as an opening to “thrust in the knife,” or if you catch them in some dishonesty or lack of integrity, consider that they may not be worth doing business with. Even then, confrontation may or may not be the best option. When a deal is not worth doing, or the other party is not trustworthy, simply walking away from the table may be the wisest option.

As they say, deals are like busses; there’s always another one coming around the corner.


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