Out of the Mouths of Babes - Negotiation Best Practices
I witnessed a negotiation between my 4-year-old niece and her dad, a strong, smart communicator.
Let\'s listen in:
Emily: Daddy, can I have some jelly beans?
Dad: Well, OK but 2 - Tomorrow, I want you to finish your lunch.
Emily: (pause) Daddy, may I have 5 and I\'ll eat all of my lunch tomorrow.
Dad: Well - three.
Emily: (silently looking at the bowl of jelly beans) Hmm...hmm...hmmm...
Dad: OK, 4.
Emily: Daddy, can I have one of each color?
Dad: Scanning the beans and quickly counting them. Well, I don\'t know.
Dad: 1 of each color?
Dad: OK but just 1.
Emily: (as she is eating her jelly beans) "Daddy, you can have 1 too."
Emily: Daddy, can Suzie Bear have 1 jelly bean? ...to be continued
- There are powerful lessons to be learned by observing a child negotiate. What made Emily so effective?
- She was focused.
- She had a clear objective.
- She stayed focused.
- She remained collaborative. She did not make an extreme demand - 5 gave her enough wiggle room without letting her seem unreasonable or demanding.
- She used three effective negotiation strategies: She negotiated the future, even offering more than was requested
- She used silence very effectively twice, instinctively understanding that the first to speak is the first to fold. And finally, she tried the nibble with her Suzie Bear tactic to get a little more at the end and also to show her willingness to share.
- She was patient.
- She was creative, going out of the box and changing the parameters from number to colors
- Most importantly, she used the relationship. Using a consultative approach, she created a win-win - Both parties left hand-in-hand (to the toy store - just kidding).