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Are you a hard or a soft negotiator?

Hard or soft?

And — is one better than the other?

You’ve tried both, right?

Well — which one worked the best?

The Hard Way:

When you were a hard ass, did you get what you want?

Let’s say, for example, that you went into that meeting at work, and you insisted on getting things done your way.

And you presented your ultimatum.

What was the response?

Did they all say, “Yeah, man, absolutely!”

Probably not.

You might have gotten some buy in, but there was a feeling of reluctance, wasn’t there?

How about at home?

How does the dictator model work there?

Here’s the thing: when you try to get what you want by being a hard negotiator, you might get what you want for awhile.

But your gains don’t last, do they?

Negotiating from a hard position will eventually end up creating resistance with your minions.

The Soft Way:

So let’s say you try the soft way.

You’re mister nice guy.

You’re ready to do whatever works for the good of the team.

You’re all about pleasing the little lady at home.

How does that play out?

Let’s say you get home after a hard day’s work.

You’re hoping for some peace and, well, let’s face it — a delicious dinner waiting for you the instant you walk through the front door.

But it’s not there.

So you say, “Hey, honey, what can I do to help?” while inside you feel like exploding.

Who do you think you’re fooling?

It won’t be long before you’re fighting the good fight (once again).

What if there were another way?

There is indeed another way of getting what you want, that actually works.

Developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project, this alternative to either hard or soft bargaining is called “principled negotiation.”

Here are the essential elements:

  • People: Separate the people from the problem.
  • Interests: Focus on interests, not positions.
  • Options: Invent multiple options looking for mutual gains before deciding what to do.
  • Criteria: Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.

If you want to get what you want…

You want to get what you want, right?

So check out this alternative option to getting what you want.

For more on this, check out a great little book about getting what you want, called Getting To Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury.