Talking to Yourself is a Good Thing! (4/8/22)

When it comes to getting what you want, what’s the difference between persuasion and manipulation? We all negotiate every day – a lot more than we realize. Some people think that negotiating means getting your way, even if it means wearing the other person down until they agree, give in or give up. While we don’t mind being persuaded to see an issue from someone else’s point of view, no one enjoys being manipulated.

I’ve been thinking about how much time I’ve spent negotiating over the past few months. From my publisher to my car mechanic – from my graphic designer to a convention chair – we had to come to terms with what each of us needed and wanted from the process. It always helps me to talk to myself first before I talk with the other person. Here are the questions I ask myself:

What do I really need or want? What’s really important? Which non-essential issues leave room for some “give and take”?

What does the other person need or want? We all know people who don’t even understand this question! It’s no fun to be part of a family or a friendship when the other person’s favorite words are I, my and me. If I concentrate only on what I need, I lose sight of what’s important to the other people involved. And that scenario can bring any negotiation, or any relationship, to a screeching halt.

What am I willing to give up to get what I need or want? In any negotiation, each person likes to feel that they won something. If I know in advance I won’t get everything I’m asking for, what am I willing to give up so both of us are satisfied?

What issues are not negotiable for me? As we all know, some things are simply not negotiable. Many of them are very serious matters. So I have to decide if the “non-negotiable” rule applies. Setting boundaries with a difficult person is a good example.

What issues are not negotiable for the other person? (Again… some people never ask.)

How do I handle it when I don’t get what I want?

How does that impact my credibility with colleagues, family and friends?

Negotiations are rarely isolated events. They’re part of everyday life. Over time we develop a reputation based on how well we achieve our goals while treating other people with fairness and respect. This process has helped me… since I talk to myself anyway! I trust it will help you too.


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