When you negotiate with friends and loved ones, do you find the negotiations skills to be more difficult?
Over the years, thousands of people have told me they consider themselves to be good negotiators, except when it comes to negotiations skills with someone they have strong emotional ties to. There are several phenomena at work during these negotiations.
It's more difficult to negotiate with people that you have strong emotional ties to for several reasons:
They have better insight into your psychic makeup and thus possess a greater awareness of how to push your buttons.
They can do things to you that others outside of your inner domain could never do (Read between the lines on this one).
During negotiations skills with loved ones and friends, you will tend not to negotiate as stringently as you might with people that don't fall into these categories.
So, how should you negotiate with those that are close to you and still maintain a civil relationship with them after the negotiation is over?
As with all negotiations skills, state the purpose of the negotiation up front. Indicate what is in bounds (things that can be discussed) and things that are out of bounds (things that cannot be discussed). Hold fast to not discussing things that are out of bounds and get your friend or loved one to buy in to the boundaries of the negotiation.
State how you would like the relationship to be after the negotiations skills have concluded. Get them to buy in on this one, too.
As the negotiations skills progress, monitor the level of emotions that occur, yours and your friend or loved one, to make sure those emotions are not used as ploys of manipulation against you.
As you acquiesce to the wishes of your friend or loved one, make sure they really want what they say they want. (You can get a good read on their desires by observing and interpreting their body language). Don't allow them to use red herrings as a ploy to gain additional leverage over you (Note: Red herrings are items that appear to possess value by your negotiations skills partner, but more than not, they serve to distract attention from the real issue).
Observe the emotional intent of your loved one or friend to determine their attempt to be manipulative. Observe their body language to peek into the mental state of mind they possess. If that state of mind indicates they are being genuine and sincere in the negotiations skills, pursue the negotiation down the path upon which you're proceeding.
Check to make sure your friend or loved one is satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations skills. Validate their acceptance by observing their body language. If their words and body language match, more than not, you've reached the end of a successful negotiation.
Finally, when all else fails, throw these tactics out the window and give your loved one or friend what they want. After all, if you can afford to, go ahead and give in, give up, and get what you want, if the cost is not too high. Don't let the value of the relationship hang in the balance of the negotiations skills. If the relationship is worth you not winning the current negotiation, in order to win in another aspect of the relationship, you'll still come out ahead... and everything will be right with the world.
When you negotiate, with loved ones and friends, set firm boundaries upon which the negotiation will be based. Try to maintain those boundaries throughout the negotiation.
When all else fails, If you can afford to, let your loved one or friend have the perception of winning the negotiation. In the end, if the relationship becomes stronger, both of you are winners.