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Negotiating with Yourself?

Published: Jan 07 , 2019
Author: Jill Campen

We all face the New Year with a variety of perspectives – simplify… clarify… amplify… save money… make more money… spend more time exercising… eat healthier… the list goes on and on.  Negotiating with ourselves is a lifelong journey – it never goes away…but we can get better at it.

Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions, goals, personal desires… it is all good stuff.  Our intentions are good… a fresh start… a better year than the last… improvement overall.

Preparing to negotiate with yourself and preparing to negotiate with a customer or a supplier have very similar approaches. We focus on defining the goals and then we work on the mindset and skillset necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.  Seems so simple right? We start with the question “What do you want?”  A question you’ve heard a million times…whether it’s about what you want for dinner, where you want to go on vacation, or what you should wear today.  The thing about this simple question is that it can drive you to tears if you just don’t know the answer to the bigger life questions. Think about these categories in your life:

• Financial
• Career
• Lifestyle
• Health
• Relationships
• Personal

Any good negotiator starts with their objectives, “What do I want?”  We suggest you consider what is a realistic expectation. Think about financial goals… you might want to have a retirement savings of $2M eventually – and currently you have $500K.  Unless you expect a windfall in 2019 – you probably won’t get to that number in one year… but you can define your realistic expectation for financial success in 2019, right? Let’s say your goal is $40K.  Once you have defined this (make sure it is possible – not completely out of reach) then we’d also encourage you to determine what you absolutely must accomplish in this year’s negotiation with yourself on financials.  In this example, let’s say that you must max out your 401K contribution to $19K. Even though that is a long way from your eventual goal of $2M – it is the thing that you must achieve this year and it is something you can discipline yourself to do by making the proper payroll allocations now. From there, you can create a plan for achieving the balance of $40K to achieve this year’s goal.

Some of you are saying to yourself “Oh, come on Jill, this is elementary stuff”.  Uh huh… it is! Our mindset is what trips us up most of the time. We justify our behaviors by saying things to ourselves like: “I just let things happen as they may”, “Goal setting is too restrictive – I am more free-form”, “I set goals and then never follow-through”,  or “I’ll get to it soon”. However, as with any negotiation, if you don’t set a goal then you can’t develop a strategy or a plan for success.

As you negotiate with yourself at this start of the New Year, consider all of the categories and first decide: “What do I want?” As someone once said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. Happy New Year!



What Do You Want?

It’s not always an easy question to answer, but it’s certainly an important one if you want a successful negotiation. We can help you answer this question and many others on your path towards success. We can be your advisor, your coach, and your trainer. Whether you bring us in to create your strategy, or help you prepare, or develop your team’s negotiating skills - we can help you win at the negotiating table.

We’ve been consulting and teaching our proven negotiation methodology for over 40 years. We know the process, we can identify the skills required, and we have the techniques to negotiate better deals for you. Call us and let’s discuss what we might be able to do for you.

Talk to one of our experts today.


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When you think about it, it’s some kind of change that moves parties toward the kinds of conflict that often results in the need to negotiate an agreement. Sometimes, the change is self-imposed, for example Clients or customers decide to rationalize their supply chain Sellers decide that concessions made in the past have resulted in agreements that no longer pass the commercial test Changes in personnel or company policy

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