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Here’s the only way to negotiate with an idealist

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 second section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the 26 different personality traits of negotiators you are likely to encounter in the course of your negotiating career are identified. Over the next few weeks we will recommend ways of dealing with each type of negotiator.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

14 The idealist

The idealist often has a head-in-the- clouds approach to negotiation that covers up a lack of regard for, and even understanding of, the essential practicalities of a negotiation. Idealists often believe they are right and that their position is the truth that should not be questioned or challenged. They prefer not to fully question or investigate their own viewpoint, nor do they wish to fully investigate and consider any alternative viewpoint. They want acceptance of their truth, cause, or belief to be the basis and don’t seem needful of the negotiation. Their unreasonable attachment to their ideal results from their emotional dependence upon it. It is often what gives meaning to their lives.

So, they become indignant at any suggestion that their approach, based in their ideal, could be incorrect. This rigid and narrow idealism is a great handicap in a negotiation, as it tends to cause friction and conflict with people who prefer a more reasonable and balanced approach. At its worst, this form of idealism indicates a lower intelligence, intellectual laziness, and a degree of willful obstinacy that can wreak havoc in a negotiation. Such fanatical idealism can leave even intelligent people operating at diminished intellectual and emotional capacity.

The source of such idealism may be religious, political, quirkily personal, or social-issue or-cause oriented. Religious fundamentalists, political ideologues of the left or right, supporters of various social or personal issues or causes, or impassioned eccentrics can all be equally willful and immune to reason or compromise when their issues enter a negotiation.

If you find yourself in a negotiation gridlock with an idealist who is unwilling to make practical and necessary compromises to reach an agreement, you may need to find an outside mediator who can bring objectivity and independent authority to the process. If both parties can mutually agree on a well-respected arbitrator to decide the merits of each viewpoint and to reach a mutually binding decision, there is hope.


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