What does it mean to an effective negotiator?
It means keeping your cool, holding most of your emotions in check and paying attention to a few key principles: appreciating people and making sure they appreciate you, affiliation (being treated as a colleague rather than adversary), autonomy (making sure autonomy isn’t impinged upon), status (making sure your status was respected when it was deserved), and role (making sure you’re satisfied with the activities you performed in your role).
In some cases, however, negotiations take place with people who don’t appreciate you or respect you, don’t treat you as a colleague, impinge your autonomy, etc.
What do you do then, one woman asked.
Kelliher said she’s been faced with people who will say, in essence, “You have to do this my way, or I’m not negotiating with you,” she said. “Repeat back to them what they said. Chances are they’ll say, ‘I never said that.’ And you can say, ‘Yes you did.’ This works particularly well at home.”
In a possible hint toward today’s political environment, Kelliher had a critique of modern public negotiations.
“In our world today, words like compromise can be tainted, they can sound kind of bad,” she said. “Negotiation is not just about splitting the baby down the middle, it’s about negotiating interests.”
She also gave the crowd some practical advice.
“Do any of you ever feel like crying during a meeting?” she asked. Dozens of hands went up.
So she told them to try this: The next time you get the feeling that you want to cry in a meeting, dig your thumbnail into one of your fingers really hard. The pain will override your emotional need to cry.
“That’s practical advice you can use,” she said.