Win/Win! – The Art of Negotiating Conflicts

Win/win is an attitude, not an outcome.
- Don Boyd

As long as there is life, there will always be conflicts to resolve. This truth is both universal and infinite!

Out of the crib and into the grave…conflicts do exist and it is the way of mankind to resolve our differences and learn and grow from them.

Some conflicts often do not have immediate solutions and the parties involved more often than not go through multiple stages of conflicts and their negotiations.

Months or years before you were born, your life was already a subject of discussion. Most certainly, your parents discussed what hospital to rush to for your delivery and discussed this with your mom’s doctor. Dad and Mom also talked about options with respect to the available finances anf resources. They also discussed with the doctor the possibility of a normal or caesarian delivery. In all these, the doctor and your parents might have different opinions and preferences. They all were after the best options according to how they saw it.

You thought that’s the end of it? Deciding your name became the next subject of negotiations. Everyone, including grand parents, aunts, even the next-door neighbors, and business associates, had their own say. After agreeing on your name, the date for christening followed, along with where and how the event would be celebrated. All these involve small negotiations – and you weren’t even born yet!

There’s no end to all the discussions and differences in opinion; and this is just infanthood. What about childhood, school life, adolescence, and young adulthood?

Even on the deathbed, the relatives of a dying person discuss what funeral service to hire, what burial rites to perform, etc. Life from start to finish is accompanied by discussions, differences of opinion, and final decisions. As long as these things happen, conflicts continue.

4 Stages Of Conflicts And How To Detect Them

The number one goal in resolving a conflict is to make sure both sides maintain their self-esteem. This is one phrase that should remind you of the overall objective in a conflict.

Conflicts differ in intensity. They are composed of four stages:

Stage One:

These are very mild discussions geared towards seeking quick and pleasurable solutions in problem solving. Opinion poll is taken from all possible sides, especially from those involved. Often, those who talk are the ones really involved. Others are contented to merely listen. In this stage, there are no heated arguments. The conflict can be resolved quickly and in a spirited mood. Examples of this type of conflict are choosing what clothes to wear, what movie to see, what hobby to do, or who to go out with on dates. Beware though. This conflict, though light and pleasurable, may develop into the next level if unchecked.

Stage Two:

Fiery words, emotional outbursts, and booming voices are just some of what you can expect in the second stage. Discussions can get hot and may extend for a certain period. This stage involves some loss in property, time, dignity, and principle.

A series of meetings or discussions may be needed, which may or may not result to conflict resolution. This may accelerate into the next stage of conflict if unresolved, or decelerate into the first stage of conflict and ends well as a result. The situation may get out of hand to the extent that more persons or events outside the main players (people really involved) may be dragged into it. It may be said that this stage is a half-blown stage of conflict.

Stage Three:

Aside from the issues in stage two, this may involve a loss of life. The situation is marked by a full-blown conflict and the parties involved find themselves at the verge of chaos.

The problems could be resolved, but solution calls for tolerance and some compromises on principles. Either or both parties will have to give in for negotiations to proceed and progress. The situation can revert to stage two depending on the results of the negotiations. It could escalate into a breakdown or total collapse of the situation. This could lead to a permanent strife between parties.

Stage Four:

When negotiations bog down and the players find themselves face to face in court, we have a stage four conflict. This is an expensive stage to be in. The attorney’s fees alone can be very shocking. As a champion negotiator, we don’t want to reach stage four. We want to keep things within stage one or two.

What Is A Negotiation?

The word “negotiate” has Latin roots: NEG which means “not” and OTIO which is translated to “leisure” and originally meant “to conduct business.” Negotiation is really a people process.

Negotiation is a process of trying to make opposing parties come to a middle ground where they can meet eye-to-eye, talk about their conflicts in a better light, and aspire for a win-win resolution to conflicts. Conflicts tend to keep involved parties at the opposite ends of the pole. They establish their own separate territories far from each other, and then dig deep into their turfs. This situation is no different from building their own separate war camps, with foxholes, shelters, artillery and arms depot, where they shoot at each other until one of them yields.

But yielding does not always mean the end of a conflict. It may just be a temporary surrender to enable both camps to consolidate and strengthen positions. A fresh conflict may again start soon. If negotiations fail, opposing parties may take up the case in court; or worse, deal with the case violently. As a champion negotiator, your job is to settle things out of court and without any violence. Just a few seconds ago, you have seen that negotiations ensue from birth to death. Every stage of your life involves some form of discussion or argument that needs efficient decision-making.

Now are you up for a simple activity? Drift yourself back through time and recall actual negotiations you were involved in. Do the following life situations look familiar? Have you been a witness to any of the following situations that clearly involved negotiations?

1. Child and parent negotiations on buying a toy. (Can you guess who normally wins?)

2. Negotiations between or among playmates on what, how, and where they should play.

3. Going to school everyday, especially the “waking up early” part.

4. Arguing with Dad on whether to go camping/outing or not.

5. What school to go to in high school or junior high.

6. A class report where you try to convince everybody of what you have researched.

7. What clothes or shoes to buy.

8. Who to go out with on a date and where.

9. Who to choose as boy or girl friend.

10. What college course to take and where.

11. What company of friends to join.

12. What organization to work for or what business to undertake.

13. Who to marry.

14. How many kids to have.

15. What house to settle in with your family and where.

Discussions of differences in opinion and how to settle them halfway are the courses of life. We often encounter such situations first with our parents and relatives, then with our playmates, then with our schoolmates, then with our spouse, boss, clients, and colleagues in office or business. Later in life, you will even have to negotiate for your health and life. Dying people are known to negotiate with God for a second chance at life or for a quick, painless death. Indeed, prayer is really a negotiation.

Any form of communication is part of negotiation. Saying “Hello” upon picking up the phone is an invitation to a discussion. Then you ask, “May I speak with Kurt?” In that instant, the possibility of a simple negotiation can get under way. But am I willing to speak or do I want to elude you or…has the conflict just begun?

Presentations – 3 Fail Save Tips

Many people say they would prefer to go to the dentist and have a drilling without anaesthetic, be locked in a box full of spiders or sky dive with the person they would most like not to be with rather than make a presentation.

Of course we all have phobias and things we convince ourselves we can’t do. Mine is picking up the telephone to sell and I’m sure you can tell from the language I use that I have a set of assumptions about ‘selling’ and more importantly the likely outcome. In short, fear of rejection.

And it’s the same with presentations. You may be talking to a number of different people (internal v external) in a number of different circumstances (formal v informal) to deliver a number of different outcomes (information v commitment).

It may, of course, just be to entertain but this is usually the realm of more experienced speakers.

So, fear of presenting is not a trivial issue. Here are 3 Fails Safe Tips.

1. Take the Angst out of it

• What’s going through your mind here?
o I haven’t done it before;
o I have done it before and I didn’t feel it went well
o People were so patronising with their feedback.
o Actually I didn’t want to ask them!
• So what’s likely to be overwhelming you at the moment? It’s your emotion isn’t it?
• And we all know that we are our own worst critics. Do you have some one or something – say a parent or parrot – on your shoulder – saying don’t, can’t, failure, you’ve done it before and it was rubbish!
• So do all of us! So park this stuff.
• Think positive. Be a footballer and imagine scoring the winning goal.
• People coming up to you and saying:
o That was something I’ve been struggling with for ages – thank you for helping me out;
o I really enjoyed the energy and commitment you put in to your presentation;
o I could never do that – tell me what I need to do to be like you.
• This can be really difficult, but in addition to practising your presentation in front of the mirror and recording it, you really ought to trial it in front of somebody who you know will give you constructive feedback.

2. Attend to the Practicalities

• Having done the ‘hard’ work in shaping and preparing your presentation, on the day there are some practicalities you need to take control of.
• Yes, I mean take control of, because no matter how exquisite your speech preparation has been, there are some really practical issues if not addressed can literally destroy your presentation.
• So what might they be?
o Can people hear you? – do a sound check with the people at the back of the room;
o Lighting – are you visible for everybody in the room? Are you moving between light and dark patches?
o Are your slides visible to everybody? – are you getting in the way of people seeing the slides?
o Are the slides too busy?
o Are you using the slides as your script?
o If you want to facilitate people talking amongst them selves does the room layout support this?

3. Believe you’re the ‘Expert’ for the Day

• And of course you are.
• It doesn’t mean you know more than anybody else in the room – and if you don’t they’ll probably let you know.
• But if your presentation is well prepared with robust factual evidence then you’re on the high ground.
• If you want to express an opinion then make sure you label it clearly – my view is that…
• You can acknowledge different points of view – on the one hand/on the other hand.
• But don’t be wishy washy in terms of your outcome – express a view, evidence it and be prepared to learn!

How to Take Your Business Online to Get More Clients Now

There’s a popular saying concerning your business and the internet and it goes like this…”If your business isn’t online, then you AREN’T really in business…” This may seem like a harsh statement, but the fact is, business today is incredibly reliant on the internet. If your business isn’t online, then you are missing out on INCREDIBLE opportunities. Opportunities to get in front of clients, build trust, and create leads in a turnkey fashion. Many fear the jump to the online world, but actually, it is much easier than you might think.

Below are a few simple steps to help you get your offline business online to start getting more clients NOW:

1.     Define what you want your website to do – Do you want people to be able to buy your products online, or are you just trying to get them to call you? Make sure to define what action you want visitors to take as that will be important in how the website is designed.

2.     Gather logo/images you will want on your website – You want your website to have the look and feel of the rest of your marketing and your business in general. Be sure to get digital files of your logo and other images you may want on your website.

3.     Meet with local website designers to get quotes and proposals – You don’t HAVE to go with a local designer, but it can help to work with someone who knows your market and who you can build a relationship with. It is always nice to have someone local who can update your site on a regular basis.

4.     Don’t forget to promote the site! – Once the site is built, it won’t do ANYTHING unless you promote it. The designer may or may not have experience with helping you generate traffic, but you definitely want someone who can help your site show up highly in the search engines. In addition, but your website address on ALL your marketing materials from now on.

These are just a few tips to help you get your business online. The internet represents the largest market that one can have a presence in the entire world. Don’t miss out on the clients that may never find you any other way…get online TODAY!