Suddenly Needing Negotiation Tactics

I learned a little bit about negotiation tactics in early 2000. One of the things I realized was that I did not have to take no for an answer. The company where I worked decided to lay off the entire staff in California and relocate to the east coast. At that time, I was working as a graphic designer. My main client was remote, so we did all the work over the phone and via e-mail. When I asked the new manager if she could keep me and allow me to work from home, I was greeted with the response, “No. I am going to hire all my people.” 

Interest-based Negotiation Tactics

I could have let it go and give up. However, I did not. Instead, I approached her to discuss why this proposal would be good for the company. The first negotiation tactic I used was interest-based negotiation. I thought about my interests: 1. I wanted to keep this job. 2. I wanted to work from home. 3. I wanted to spend time with my baby. I listed out their interests. 1. The company would not have to hire someone to replace me, thus saving hiring costs. 2. The company would not have to have office space for me, thus saving on overhead costs. 3. The client would seamlessly continue to work with me, without interruption. 4. The company would not have to train a new designer to work with the existing client. The manager still said no.

Building Alliances

Since that did not work, I employed another negotiation tactic. I began to build allies. I spoke to her boss to see if he thought it was a sensible plan. He did, but he left the ultimate decision to the manager. I spoke to the client. They thought it was a great idea and agreed to put in a good word for me. I spoke to another VP in the company who knew my work. She also agreed to put in a good word for me. Ultimately, the new manager felt enough pressure to give me a three-month trial period. While I was not initially happy with such a short trial, there was a happy ending. I kept working from home for this company for the next eight years. I worked part-time, from home and was able to stay with my baby.

What did I learn from this experience? That “no” doesn’t necessarily mean no. It might mean that one or both parties do not have enough information to make an educated decision. It might mean that there has not been a proper negotiation before “no” was offered as the answer. 

How Emotions Affect Negotiations

We are all human beings. We have emotions. People make decisions based on their emotions.  Knowing this, when you negotiate, you want to be able to affect the other person’s emotions, so that they move towards a resolution. Come to the table with curiosity. Why did they say no? Is there a way around that? If they are missing critical information, offer that as part of the argument.

Everything is negotiable. That’s exactly what I teach in my negotiation classes and coaching.

Where there is a human being, there is emotion. And where there is emotion, there is room for influence. And ultimately, where there is room for influence, you have room for negotiation!

Read about my six tips for negotiation in any situation, big or small, as well as negotiating your divorce,  employment severance or, even, with your kids.