In the Boardroom: Negotiate successfully with friends and colleagues

In any negotiation, be it with friends or business associates, the process by which you negotiate should be the same (i.e. gather background information pertaining to the negotiation, develop a negotiation plan that encompasses the strategies and tactics you’ll employ to achieve the outcome sought, etc.). The delineated point of difference is the emotional level of interaction that can occur when negotiating with friends.

Sometimes in a negotiation, we’re more civil with business associates than we are with friends. In some cases that’s attributed to the fact that we’ve had more interaction with friends and friends tend to know our ‘hot buttons’, when to push those buttons, and the reaction that such actions will generate in us. That being the case, we should really heighten our awareness more when negotiating with friends. Here are seven suggestions you might consider when negotiating with friends.

  1. In any negotiation, you should always strive to set the stage at the outset of the negotiation. With friends do so more painstakingly. Put forth extra effort to clear potential impediments ahead of time.
  2. To the degree you can, with friends, be more generous about sharing the ‘control’ of the negotiation. All negotiations are about ‘control’; who sways whom to their point of view, and how it’s done, aligns with whom it is that controls the negotiation. As you negotiate with friends, become astutely aware of why they’ve adopted the position they’re maintaining and seek to understand their perspective from a position of neutrality. Try not to be judgmental as they present their case.
  3. Don’t let too much time pass before correcting misperceptions and perceived wrong doings that may occur in the negation.
  4. If you value a friendship, don’t allow it to wane, as the result of a ‘bad’ negotiation. Strive to be magnanimous. Since we’re always negotiating, you might engender the idea that your friend’s point(s) swayed you in the negotiation. In so doing, you’ll create chits that you can use in the future.
  5. Remember the ‘law of reciprocity’ is always at work. It implies, when someone does something nice for/to you, you in return want to do something nice for/to that person. When negotiating with friends, observe how this ‘law’ is implemented. You’ll gain insight into the level of difficulty you might experience in the negotiation by observing this fact.
  6. When conflicts arise with friends, as the result of a misperception as to what was said or done, limit the possibility of further damage to the negotiation and friendship by not allowing outside interference from those that you speak to about the situation. By allowing outside interaction (interference) to seep into the process, you run the risk of deepening the divide between you and your friend.
  7. Monitor the temperature of the negotiation. All of us can sense heat. When a negotiation with friends start to ‘heat up’, seek ways to ‘lower the temperature’ by calling ‘time outs’.

If your friendship is engulfed by turmoil when negotiating, the friendship may suffer. Afterwards, if you try to resurrect the friendship, it will be hard to deny history when you live so close to it. Be judicious, fair, and forgiving when negotiating with friends, and hopefully everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • Sometimes it can be very difficult to mix business with friendship. If you sense difficulties may lie ahead in a friendship, as the result of a pending negotiation, set the boundaries firmly before the negotiation.
  • We tend to hurt the ones we love. Be careful not to allow a negotiation to get ‘out of hand’, when negotiating with friends.
  • Consider the fact that it’s no good to win a battle at the expense of losing a friend, the qualifier being, depending on how good the friend is and the value of what you’re negotiating.

If you would like to have Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator as a keynote speaker, trainer, or coach at your company, group, or organization, contact him by sending an e-mail to Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com and begin maximization your resources.

by Greg Williams – The Master Negotiator. If you’d like more information on how you can boost your negotiation skills, click here to checkout Greg’s new book, “Negotiate: Afraid, ‘Know’ More.”

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