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Laugh to the dotted line

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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)

58 Humour

Virtually everyone likes someone who makes them smile or laugh. People who take themselves and life too seriously, who don’t know how to lighten up and have fun in the moment, need fun more than anyone. But fun is generally not on most people’s negotiation agenda for the day.

Introducing humour into a negotiation can ease tensions, lighten the atmosphere, and lift the spirits of everyone in the room. Humour is a social lubricant and a diffusor of awkwardness or tension. A shared joke and mutual laughter creates an instant bond. An absurd or witty remark, a funny anecdote, or a humorous, self-deprecating comment can amuse the serious and disarm the adversarially minded, making them more open with and receptive to you, and easier to negotiate with.

Humour also consists of getting and enjoying the joke, and joining in the humour of others.

But using humour during a negotiation requires a certain kind of confidence and a sensitivity to the moment. It can be risky, and it can backfire. A misguided attempt at levity, or trying too hard to be funny, can create tension or dismay, or turn good rapport into frosty feelings. Inappropriate or misguided humour can cast you in a bad light with the other party and spoil a negotiation.

Yet the well-timed, appropriate use of humour can dissolve a block in a negotiation and get it over the hump. There are times to be serious, practical, and straightforward. But sometimes keeping the mood light and jovial better serves a negotiation process.

Medical studies show that laughter really is the best medicine, stimulating blood circulation, enhancing moods, boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure and stress, increasing relaxation, and even improving brain function. So, humour is good for you, good for the other party, and good for the negotiation.


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