” I want the day off tomorrow ” says the young manager. ” I want you to make that presentation tomorrow” says her boss.

” It’s your turn to take the car tomorrow “says the executive to his car pool friend. ” Let’s switch to a person per week” replies his friend ” Let’s stay with your car for the rest of this week”.

At work and at home, we negotiate all the time. You negotiate with your boss, your spouse, your kids, your team members: well, with at least one or more persons every single day.

Some people seem to be expert at negotiation. Others look at them and say “Gosh, this guy seems to get all that he wants”. Some who are less comfortable in negotiation seem to get stuck with more tasks at work, more chores at home, more stress and grumble about it.

We start a negotiation because two or more people have differing needs and priorities. You want something and so does the other guy. Ideally, by discussion we reach a solution which is mutually acceptable. You and I know this is not always the case. One person in the negotiation goes away feeling he is the “loser”.

To a very large extent, negotiation is not just about strategy but the communication and interpersonal skills you bring to bear in this process. The use of incorrect or intemperate language, the use of inappropriate body language and the lack of assertiveness cause you to lose a negotiation more often than a poor strategy.

The best way to approach a negotiation is to look for a “win-win” solution. You don’t have to win at the other person’s expense.

The manner in which we react at the end of a negotiation, sets the ground for our relationship when we next negotiate! Many have suffered the next time around because they gloated too much when they won the first negotiation. History is replete with examples. One that comes first to mind is when Hitler used this ploy to dramatic effect. He made the French accept humiliating terms of surrender in Paris in 1940 in the very same railway coach that Germany had surrendered in 1918. Hitler then had it blown up so it would never be used again. Grace in victory is as important as courage in defeat.

Skilled negotiators look beyond the short term. In planning their negotiation strategy they keep the longer term in mind. In the negotiation process, keeping our temper in check and keeping things in perspective are invaluable for success. What looks like a major give away in the heat of the moment may not be such a big deal after all. It’s just your ego that assigns far more importance to the issue than is perhaps warranted.

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This is the 67 th of the “A Step A Day “series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.