Things progress in relationships when people go beyond talking and start negotiating. I want my readers to actually negotiate, and not just discuss it. It may sound funny to you coming from me, a blogger, since many of you only know me as someone who writes about negotiation. I am not trying to discourage you from reading my blog posts, but if you have to choose between reading about negotiation and actually conducting a negotiation, please go with the latter.
Just in case you are wondering, I don’t just write about negotiation. On average, I negotiate with 8 clients per day as a psychotherapist. I work to build client vision of their pain, budget, and decision process as a prelude to asking for what I want. Typically, I want them to decide to take some action or not that will move them toward their long term aim and fulfill their ongoing tasks and responsibilities to themselves and others they identify.
It may seem obvious to you that therapists should ask for decisions from their clients, but if you are at all familiar with psychotherapy you may have observed that it can easily get bogged down with the paralysis of analysis. If I forget that therapy is a negotiation, and that I want something from that negotiation, clients will often get too comfortable with venting or intellectualizing their situation.
Helping therapy clients or negotiation adversaries in your particular context to become better decision makers requires that you provide opportunities for them to make decisions. They will come to understand that even if they make a wrong decision, as long as they are dealing with a Camp trained negotiator, they can always make another better decision. If you try to save them from having to make decisions, you will not only be hurting your negotiation, you will be hurting them. You will be communicating indirectly that they are not capable, and whatever agreement you may strike with them will be made by someone whose confidence in their own decision making has been reduced by their interaction with you. Since executing an agreement will require them to make decisions, you are increasing the chance that they will fail to be effectively decisive.
If you want to stop just reading about negotiation, and thinking about it, and discussing it, and start doing it, here is a start-up tip to avoid getting overwhelmed: take the time to decide what you want, and then make sure you ask for it. Only then will the rubber start to meet the road in your career.
Please share your thoughts.