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Using Gratitude in Business Negotiation

Most of us enter into negotiation with our business partners, employees and employers, friends and family starting from the standpoint of what “I” will get from the process. Right away this stance sets us up to miss opportunities for common ground and will often lead to misunderstandings, argument and a complete failure to agree on basic terms. As attorneys, we are called in to negotiate on behalf of clients after they have attempted this common negotiation method and have come to an impasse.

As negotiators, we find it to be incredibly helpful to set a proper motivation before engaging in any negotiation whether it is on behalf of a client or in our own interactions. One of the best motivations you can have going into a negotiation is gratitude for the other person. If you feel truly grateful to the other person for the opportunity to work with them you will necessarily approach the negotiation differently. Rather than focusing on your own needs and wants, you will, because you are grateful to the other person, be more open to listening to them and be more generous in your offer to them. This, in turn will often have the effect of causing the other person to reciprocate the very same gratitude based motivation in their approach to the negotiation with you.

I recently advised a client who was motivated by a sense of gratitude from the very beginning of his negotiation with a potential employer. He understood that the employer could change his career and help him to succeed, and he was so grateful for the opportunity. When we reviewed the proposed contract, there were multiple terms that just did not work for the client. However, because the client was coming from a place of gratitude, it was much easier for us to approach the employer with requested changes in an open, creative and respectful way. Without hesitation, the employer was open to changes and the client was able to successfully enter into the contract with his needs met. This gave both parties an excellent foundation for their relationship to grow and be sustainable for the long term.

The switch in mindset from seeking only to benefit yourself to one of gratitude towards the other party is a simple one. It does not even require you to say to the other person that you are grateful. It is an internal motivation, from which your actions will follow. As we are approaching the holiday season, which is a time of gratitude, we encourage you to try to expand your holiday gratitude into your negotiations. You will notice a difference in the process and the outcomes and you just might decide to make a permanent switch to a more mindful approach to negotiation.

If you would like to learn more about mindful negotiation techniques or are interested in retaining us for your contract negotiation needs please contact us by email here.

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