Humble Negotiation is the KEY to Success

Mastering humble negotiation leads to successful outcomes.

Humble Negotiation is The Key to Success

Negotiation is an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it’s discussing a raise or considering job offers, negotiating is a common occurrence. Even seemingly mundane tasks like deciding where to fuel up, grabbing coffee, or choosing lunch involve negotiation. I find myself negotiating with my spouse—like offering to cook if she’ll handle the dishes. Negotiation happens every day, and it’s crucial to approach each one with humility.

As I mentioned, we began negotiating at a very young age, though we might not have recognized it at the time. Remember those moments when we’d say, “I’ll eat my greens if I can have a piece of candy after dinner,” or my personal favorite, “Mom, I’ll feed the cat if you clean out their litter box”? While I didn’t often win the latter, when I did, it felt like a triumph. We’ve all witnessed children throwing tantrums in public, attempting to get their way. Did it work? Not in our household. I recall a time when I stepped away from the child momentarily, only to return and humorously ask, “Who are your parents?” The child’s laughter ensued, though I remained unimpressed. However, there were moments when my children approached me with humility, saying, “Dad, I’ve washed all the dishes. Could we possibly watch a movie and stay up a little late?” In such instances, I was much more inclined to meet them halfway.

How do you manage your negotiations in the workplace? Do you find yourself getting upset when things don’t go your way? What about when you’re negotiating for a raise or time off? I’ve even found myself negotiating just to be heard. There have been instances where I’ve had to negotiate with operations to ensure they adhere to federal regulations. Here are some tips to keep your negotiations humble and enhance your chances of reaching a successful agreement.

1. Avoid getting angry. Allowing anger to take over is a guaranteed way to lose every time. It demonstrates a lack of emotional control. Some may argue it shows passion, but I disagree. It reveals weakness, indicating an inability to manage oneself, let alone what one is asking for.

2. Before heading into the meeting, take some time to brainstorm various scenarios. Consider different possibilities, anticipate where the conversation might lead, think about potential questions that could arise, and reflect on possible statements that might be made.

3. Take a moment to consider the deal from their perspective, which ties directly into the previous point. Ponder what you’re asking for from the other party. For instance, if you’re seeking a raise, contemplate whether the company has recently experienced layoffs, indicating limited available funds. Similarly, if it’s a promotion, acknowledge the possibility that there may be other candidates equally or more qualified for the position. Regardless of the negotiation context, examining it from their viewpoint allows you to assess whether it’s a mutually beneficial deal or if it’s skewed in one direction.

4. Avoid rushing to receive an answer. Negotiations require time, and hastening the process is unlikely to yield favorable results. Sales tactics often exploit urgency, urging you to make impulse purchases by implying that the deal won’t last. Recognize when this technique is being used on you and refrain from employing it yourself. While you might obtain the desired answer today, it may not align with your long-term needs.

5. Practice honesty. It’s crucial to be truthful with both yourself and the other party involved. Clearly express what you genuinely desire and what you’re prepared to sacrifice or undertake to finalize the deal.

6. Avoid resorting to deceitful tactics to achieve your goals. Consider the example of individuals who publicly declared they would leave the country if a certain candidate were elected president. They attempted to sway public opinion by suggesting that if their desires weren’t met, they would disappear from the public eye. However, it’s doubtful whether any of them followed through on their promises.

7. Don’t hesitate to renegotiate. It’s natural for circumstances to evolve, so feel free to revisit discussions and make adjustments as needed.

8. Begin with modest requests. Often, we aim too high initially, assuming we can scale back later. Have you ever attempted to start with a small request and gradually build up to more significant ones until achieving the desired outcome?

There are countless expert negotiators in this vast world, though I don’t lay claim to being one of them. However, I firmly believe in learning from everyone. Take, for example, Abraham, a humble yet skilled negotiator who engaged in a unique negotiation with God Himself. In Genesis 18:22–33, Abraham negotiated with God to spare the righteous people of Sodom and Gomorrah before their destruction. Below, I’ve included the scripture of this negotiation, inviting you to study it with the aim of refining your own negotiation skills.

When entering into negotiations with anyone, take a moment to consider how you would like to be treated if you were in their position. Additionally, contemplate how to navigate the conversation assertively yet without arrogance or anger. There’s always a way to achieve your objectives. And remember, if you don’t negotiate, you miss out on opportunities to learn and grow. Even if a negotiation fails, there’s always another chance.

“The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said, ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the judge of all the earth do right?’ The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place.'”

“For their sake,” Abraham continued, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for a lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

Once again, Abraham spoke, “What if only forty are found there?”

“For the sake of forty, I will not do it,” was the reply.

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

“I will not do it if I find thirty there,” came the response.

Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

“For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it,” was the assurance.

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

“For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it,” came the final answer.

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

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