08 November 2011

The Art of Negotiation

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I have been learning a lot about the art of negotiation. The Man suggested a few weeks that I really stink at negotiation because I'm just way too friendly and nice. Ouch...I think...humph. Haa-haa.

I happened to have a book on negotiating with vendors for your wedding that I was just starting to read so I learned a lot and saw some places where I might instantly have shot myself in the foot. Some ways you can hurt yourself are by acting too certain about what you wanted right up front and not waiting for the vendor to try to court you for a while first. I also learned how to get around the bait and switch, vendor delays, etc. In all the wedding planning books I have read there is a great portion of these books dedicating to negotiating, understanding your contract, not expecting things that aren't in the contract or anticipating hidden costs and agendas. Good lessons!

I'm learning with wedding planning, as well as so much in life that it's the small details that can really hurt you if you're not paying attention. There are so many questions to ask when you are in any kind of negotiation, whether that be a business relationship, dating relationship, family relationship or friendship. Having the courage to ask lots of questions really helps to avoid the trouble you can get into when you make assumptions. So much of what we believe in life is based on our own assumptions.

We make sense of everything around us based on past experiences and our expectations of others and of situations. This can be dangerously blinding at times. We can probably all look back at situations in our lives and see how our expectations or assumptions about what was happening were not the same as the other parties - and how that has hurt us.

Asking questions and learning to negotiate are great skills to have. They are things that many of us shy away from due to fear or discomfort. We don't want others to think we're suspicious, rude or distrusting. But in the end being skilled at negotiating realistic expectations and knowing where we stand in our relationships of all kinds can only help us. And with skill, it doesn't have to be uncomfortable for us or those we deal with. It really pays in so many ways to learn to negotiate and communicate.

 Have some great lessons you learned about negotiating? I'd love to hear them as we navigate this wedding planning experience that is so full of communication and negotiation. Sending you wishes for a great Tuesday!

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