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You think negotiating is reserved for the pros? Think again. You negotiate all the time and most of the time you don’t even realize it.

All day we are in discussions with people, from our kids to our co-workers to our spouses. Many of these conversations require a level of communication that involves some sort of compromise.

How can we take this activity from our subconscious to the conscious part of our mind? Let’s take a peak at what happens during the day.

Waking Up

Your first negotiation is with your spouse or significant other. Who is going to make the bed? If you share the chore, great. You just made your first compromise of the day.

After you shower, you get the kids out of bed. Your negotiation with them turns into, “Get up now or no TV tonight.”

Now, it’s time to decide what’s for breakfast. Your kids want Pop-Tarts. Now you must negotiate with them, saying they need something more healthy. Sunday, we can stuff our faces with Pop-Tarts and then lay around all day.

Off To Work

We begin the business day with our first meeting, which of course is a waste of everyone’s time and results in absolutely nothing. Your boss tells you she wants the report done by Thursday. You haven’t even started the darn thing yet, so you beg and plead with her to let you have until Friday.

When you get back to your office or cube, you have to return all those annoying calls that are on your voicemail system from hell and the endless number of emails.

The calls and emails you return involve some decisions: yes, no, maybe or I’ll get back to you. You are now negotiating with yourself.

Now, one of your co-workers yells to you from their desk, so as to avoid coming within 6 feet of each other, “Can you do me a favor?”

Of course, it’s no simple favor. Do you give in, or do you gently, but firmly say no? By giving in and saying yes, you have just created more work for yourself. If you say no, every time you walk past them, you will think that they are mad or disappointed with you.

Lunch Time

You arrive at the restaurant to meet with a client, friend or co-worker. You order lunch and the server (while donning a mask) comes back and tells you the restaurant is out of the item that you wanted and you need to make another choice. The other items on the menu do not appeal to you, so you try to get creative. You ask the server if the kitchen has any peanut butter and jelly. It’s another example of negotiating – minor as it may seem, it involves dialogue and compromises.

Back to work

All too soon you’re back at the office for another fun-filled, action-packed afternoon of hilarious decision making, more telephone calls, emails and probably some stupidity.

Back at home

You just want to go home and think about absolutely nothing, but when you walk in the door, your spouse says, “Honey, what do you want for dinner?” What that really means is, “What can you go pick up so I don’t have to cook?” So it’s time to negotiate what each family member wants to eat and then who will pick it up.

Dinner is over and it’s time to relax, or so you think. Now the big question is, who gets to watch television on the big screen in the family room and who will go willingly or unwillingly into the bedroom to watch the small set that doesn’t have cable or satellite?

So, are you convinced yet that your day is filled with negotiating and compromises?

Here are the main points to consider:

• Know your subject, have a written agenda and set your goals and limits. Be ready to take your emotions out of the meeting.

• Always be willing to compromise and create a win-win situation. Remember, both sides want to win.

• Be honest and keep all promises you make. Your reputation stays with you a lifetime.

• Listen and do not interrupt. The more they talk, the more information you gather. Learn to love silence.

Negotiating is both parties achieving a successful outcome.

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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