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August 17, 2011

Better Than Winning

by Katie
by jm3 via flickr.com

As is probably apparent, I love negotiating.  Love it.  I love a deal; I love figuring out what someone’s thing is; I love it when someone feels like they won and I got everything I wanted.

But I know not everyone is like me, which is part of the reason I like teaching.  Even if you hate negotiating with the passion of a thousand suns, I can help you be good at it.

But there is another reason I teach interest based negotiation: I’m pretty sure it can change the world.

I really truly believe that if we can practice listening, understanding and problem solving when we create logos for the new dentist down the street, we will eventually use those new skills in all of our other conflicts.  It will change how we approach conflicts and make disagreements more productive.

I’m not entirely positive, but I’m pretty sure Misha Glouberman would agree with me.  The Chairs Are Where The People Go is a book of short essays that Glouberman collaborated on with his friend Sheila Heti.  They sat down and talked about Glouberman’s philosophy of becoming an adult and playing nicely with others, and collected it all in an easy-to-read-on-the-bus volume.  It’s not a book about negotiation, necessarily, but so many of the stories Glouberman tells and the lessons he tries to convey share a lot in common with good negotiation.

by Vainsang via flickr.com

Listen to other people; react to what they say, not to what you think they meant.

When you’re trying to do something hard, sometimes the dumb tricks are the best tricks to use.

You really can’t get better at things without practicing.

Communication uses more than just words.

There are solutions to problems that are better than winning.

If you’re one of those people that hates negotiation or feels uncomfortable practicing it, put this book on your library hold list.  It’s a quick, fun read and a nice way of realizing how good negotiation skills can help you out even when you’re not dealing with ridiculous client demands.

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