Recently a friend of mine (which is true, by the way, I’m not just saying that, I actually do have friends) chose not to run for a leadership position in an association she belongs to. She told me that she didn’t have the time to devote to it, which is perfectly fine – but she also told me that she probably wouldn’t have run anyway because there were two other candidates interested in the position and she wouldn’t have wanted to create tension by making the competition worse than it already was. That, as you can imagine, is a terrible reason not to do something, which of course is why I’m now going to teach you precisely how to do exactly that.
So, if you would like to know how to lose a negotiation right out of the starting gate, keep reading!
Concede Everything to Keep the Peace! This is what would have happened to my friend if she had actually wanted the position, and it’s what happens to anyone who is more concerned about being nice than about getting what they want. A lot of people think that if you really want something, you should be willing to fight for it – but the big problem with that is that it’s impossible not to upset someone else who wants the same thing equally badly. And since I’m writing this in the month of July, I think we should take a cue from our colonial ancestors, who demanded representation if they were going to be taxed. The British government refused, and so our ancestors quietly conceded defeat and slid comfortably back into servitude. A lot of people don’t know that the United States is still a British colony, but it’s totally true. I saw it on the Internet.
Let the Angriest, Least Compromising Person Dictate All the Terms! This is what the Allies did in the 1930s with Nazi Germany, and it worked really well, since it led to the largest war in the history of humanity which in turn led to a lot of movies I really like watching. None of that would have happened if the Allies had realized that Hitler had absolutely no intention of conceding even the smallest point. Fortunately, a lot of our current politicians have adopted a similarly uncompromising stance on various issues, presumably in the hopes that others will eventually back down instead of stand up for themselves. And seriously, which would you rather do – get what you want, or let a completely unreasonable person have their way just to shut them up? I think you’ll know the right answer when you’re seething with barely suppressed rage 3 hours after trying the second choice!
Start Your Negotiations With Exactly What You’re Hoping to End Up With! The very word ‘negotiation’ implies that neither side is going to get everything they initially set out to get, which is why you should begin your half of the process by asking for what you hope will happen after the negotiations are over. Doing so will all but guarantee that you walk away with less than you were hoping for, since if you don’t concede anything ever you’ll come off as stubborn and unwilling to negotiate. If you want to see how true negotiation works, watch kids plead with their parents for candy. They ask for every freaking piece of candy in sight, constantly and without pause, until their parents finally give them something to calm them down. But you don’t want to act like a child, do you? I mean, they end up getting what they want, but you’re better than that. And because you’re better than that, you deserve less.
I hope this is useful for whenever your next negotiation happens. Always remember, when someone doesn’t like what you say, you should simply apologize and hope they don’t get even angrier than they already are. There’s nothing like living in constant fear of disturbing the peace. After all, without fear, what would happen to all the people who take advantage of fearful people?