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Volume V, Number 8 • September 2012 • Archive of Past Issues
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Written by Linda B. Bulmash

This Month's Topic:

Selling Your Version of Reality

Whenever you are involved in a negotiation, you are selling your point of view. If you are good at selling it, you will get what you want. Since people generally prefer cooperation over conflict, the best ways to keep any disagreement over the various versions of reality from escalating, follow these rules:

1. Identify the key points/issues on your negotiation agenda before engaging the other side. The foundation for creativity and flexibility in a negotiation is preparation, being able to clearly state what you want, why it is important to you and how you envision making it happen.

2. Listen more by talking less. Everyone wants to be heard. Let the other side feel heard and you will be on your way to winning them over.

3. Always be curious and aim to understand the other person's position and objectives.

4. Reflect back to them what you think they said by restating it in your own words. This is called active listening and smoothes the water. Do not move on until you feel clear about your understand. Work on phrasing your understanding in the language they used which will make it resonate with them more and that will lead to a more easily attained agreement.

5. Avoid interrupting. Interrupting another person when they are talking can is quite common and the message you are sending is: "I don't care what you have to say. I am more important."

6. Reduce their resistance. Be soft spoken, respectful and attentive will reduce their resistance to hearing your point of view and giving you more of what you want.

7. Slowly and carefully make each of your points ONLY after fully understanding theirs. Keep telling them you don't understand until you do. Ask them to repeat what they have said in another way so you can gain a better understanding of what they want and why it is important to them.

8. Keep control of the conversation by staying focused and on point, not letting the other side digress or by digressing yourself. You can accomplish this by pointing out that it is off-point, agreeing to discuss it later or by agreeing to it if it is a non-essential point and moving on.

9. Insist that matters be discussed one at a time. It is difficult to understand what they want if you are discussing multiple issues at a time.

10. Always be gracious and soft spoken. Let the other side act and look like an idiot but don't take the bait.

LACBA member Linda B. Bulmash, Esq.,
writes the Negotiation Tips.
You can contact her at:
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