Talk and preparation only go so far.  Doing is so much more important.  So on this great Memorial Day, I am asking you to take all of your negotiation insights to the next level.  Decide on thing you are going to talk to someone about.  It might be your spouse or your children or you boss or your staff.  There has to be at least one thing that you would like to get or change.  It doesn’t have to be a large quest, just a practice negotiation.

Let’s say you want to ask your spouse to give more quality time to your relationship.  Scarey! You might find out that your spouse doesn’t want to do this or that your spouse has been thinking the same thing.  You will never know until you talk about it.  So, putting the techniques that you have learned about to work, first decide what you want the outcome to be.  What exactly do you mean by quality time?  How much is there now?  Would you take anything else besides more time to satisfy you?  Remember to find out your BATNA.  Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement.  In other words what is your plan “B” if you can’t get what you want from this negotiation?

Next you need a good quiet time to have this conversation.  Plan how you will start.  Put judgment and ego aside.  Let the person know you care about him/her .  (In a professional situation, this would be shown as  respect). You might start with an open ended statement like” I’ve been thinking that it might be nice to have more quality time together?”  Wait for the answer.  Don’t say anything more until you get a response, even if it is only a grunt.

This technique works very well in the workplace as well.  If you decide to confront an employee about his/her work, you might start out with “I’ve noticed that your work hasn’t been up to your usual high standard lately.  I’ve noticed a lot of mistakes”.  Then wait for a response.  You might be surprised what you find out.   Continue to negotiate with any new information you get.

These two examples show that most of the time when you are first starting to negotiate, you do need more information before you can finalize a negotiation.  But what about the negotiation which has been ongoing and you are at the final stages?  Here is the time your BATNA really comes into play.  You will actually negotiate from that premise.  You will continue to explore alternatives and see what is the best deal you can strike but that can only go on so long before you decide to stop the negotiation and go to marriage counseling,  go to trial, start looking for another job, decide to wait another year to ask for a raise, or whatever your BATNA says.

You now have more tools to do better negotiation but they are useless unless you begin to bring them into your life on a regular basis. So, get out there TODAY and come up with one way you will practice negotiation.  Let me know what you negotiated and how it turned out.