Relationships- The Art of Negotiation

Men’ Stories by Tarun Singh

Isn’t everything fair in love and war? Our menpsyche reader, Tarun, gives us his thoughts on the matter.

tarun The Art of Negotiation

Not everything can be resolved by war. Sometimes, parties fighting against each other are actually fighting a perception of their enemy rather than reality.

Everyone has their own version of reality, of right, of truth. In modern times it sometimes feels like genders are at “war”.

Doesn’t the continuation of humankind depend on the cohabitation of and cooperation of everyone? 

It’s not just the genders – disagreements are going on everywhere. And it seems like some on all sides feel victimised and entitled.

So wouldn’t it be better if we slowed down and had a dialogue before drawing the swords?

Also Read- Modern Men Dating Dilemmas

Clarify the root cause

art of negotiation

In order to start the negotiation, we must clearly define the root of the conflict. More often than not, the real cause of conflict is rooted somewhere other than where we identify.

Wherever possible, negotiation is a much more desired outcome than a war, considering the potential for collateral damage. Think about your situation – conversations and negotiations between teacher and student, parents and son/daughter, boss and employees, company and his clients etc.

However, what happens if, despite trying negotiation, things don’t move forward or turn critical? We might then decide “war” is an inevitable conclusion to whatever has developed between people.

Sometimes war between parties can ‘solve’ your problem – but sometimes, it can cause more significant issues if you can’t manage it respectfully.

Understanding perception plays a crucial role in negotiation. This is where the ‘art’ comes in – people can suggest many things during a negotiation yet can’t agree on a final outcome or solution. Sometimes, a tool of bargaining such as selflessness is more critical than someone’s wish or suggestion.

Confident Speech is Key

art of negotiation in relationships

Have you noticed how influential someone can be just by how they talk or explain things? You may have witnessed the power of this ability, and not just in a relationship “war” but elsewhere too, like in a professional setting like a workplace or even with strangers. The way you communicate is fundamental in negotiating complicated terms with someone.

I have noticed with youth today the value of good verbal negotiation, especially within my time in the educational sector.

Suppose two candidates apply for the same job – one is better at written communication but may not be a confident speaker, and the second candidate expresses themselves well verbally but is less skilled in written communication. The manager invariably chooses the second candidate because he knows the value of speaking skills in the context of many aspects, not the least of which is negotiation.

War as a tool of negotiation.

relationships and negotiation

Often, one party in a dispute may become unreasonable and decline any compromise or settlement of a dispute.

In that scenario, sometimes war is declared to bring the unreasonable party to the negotiation table. For example, when the proposal of peace and dialogue is discarded by one party, the other may declare war to inflict damage on the first party. This is done to make the unreasonable party understand the importance of peace and the need for negotiation.

In ancient times, the great warrior Maharana Pratap battled Akbar. Akbar had much greater power and larger forces than Maharana Pratap. Still, despite losing the battle itself, Pratap won the “war” by showing courage in the face of such might.

Consider what the opponent was thinking – I won the battle, I defeated my opponent physically, yet he is the hero due to his courage against me!. In this historical example, it was the greater good, through the act of war, that prevailed. Akbar was selfish, but Rana was not. He was motivated by his interest in the welfare of the community. 

If conversations can’t work, we may have to choose war.

In modern times, we see the youth who are more comfortable talking on social media by chat because they can voice anything about their problems without fear of anyone. The world forever changes, and so do the rules of engagement. The art of negotiation remains necessary if you want a just outcome.

Try to avoid becoming a ‘casualty’ of war
the art of negotiation

If the opposing party in a negotiation is unwilling to understand you and, despite your best efforts to negotiate, they do not budge – then you can always choose to go to ‘war.’

But the war must be weighed against potential collateral damage. Your method should be one where the opponent will understand the value of negotiation as the better alternative than war.

Some people in this situation may become reactive to the threat of war and won’t talk or negotiate. The outcome, in this case, may be disastrous and damaging.

In reacting to the war, the opposing side may lose their physical energy and mental strength.

Demonstrating boldness in conversation is one possible tactic to try and avoid a war. It may show the opposition your capabilities and seriousness to fight them hard, and they will stand down in the face of this strength.

Negotiation is Individual

Negotiation isn’t the same for everyone; it will probably look different for each individual and each relationship you have.

negotiation and relationships

Would you negotiate with your daughter the way you would with your boss?

Whoever we negotiate with, we should always strive to stay respectful, however hard that may be.

For the greater good of everyone, we can work towards a less judgemental society. Don’t worry how someone looks, dresses or lives their life – we are all worthy of respect, aren’t we?  

In Indian culture, we know the dialogue, “The verbal attack is more effective than the sword”. 

Words can and do hurt. The injury from harsh words may be remembered long after a physical scar heals.

Think before you speak.

Also Read- Men’s Guide To Communicate Better In A Relationship

How someone negotiates can show their character. How you speak and deal with life will appear everywhere, even with strangers.

Our societal goal should be respectful words in any negotiation to avoid war.

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