Negotiating Christmas! admin December 23, 2011

Negotiating Christmas!

There’s been far too much seriousness and worry lately so let’s take a break from that and enjoy a good Christmas. And let’s make sure we negotiate well even here.

What? Negotiate? At Christmas?

Of course, we’re negotiating all the time. The trains may stop for Christmas, negotiations don’t. Turkey or goose? The Cartoon Network or BBC4? Who’s washing up? Who takes the rubbish out? Who gets the chair by the fire? (The dog usually wins that one!)

Christmas celebrations

In fact, the quality of our Christmas is directly related to our negotiation skills. And by that, I don’t mean make sure we get the comfy seat and the remote control, while the wife washes up and the kids are banished to the kennel.

What I mean is this: at Christmas, we celebrate with the family; but more importantly, it is the family that we celebrate.

Stop and re-read that sentence: it is the family that you are celebrating. Your loved ones, your reasons for being.

Don’t have a lose-lose Christmas

Your family is your life, so make sure the life you build is a harmonious one, a life full of love and joy. Your family negotiations really are the most important you enter into.

So don’t go in demanding, don’t go in mistrusting, don’t go in looking for an argument. Any kind of a win-lose approach will rapidly become lose-lose. It is the law of the universe.

Instead, go in win-win. Create value. Listen. Try to solve the problem fairly. Trust. Give something away, you will get more in return.

Giving as a successful negotiation tactic

Christmas is about giving, families are about giving. And actually you find that as you grow older and (maybe) wiser you realise you get more pleasure in giving than you do in receiving.

But is it a good negotiation tactic? Surprisingly, yes. Professor Cialdini’s studies have shown that a favour freely given usually generates a favour in return. What is more, the returned favour is normally bigger than the original.

And it works for Google. 95% of Google’s products are given away free. And they do ok.

The lesson?

Good negotiation skills can bring improvements to all parts of our life. So go out there and give a little bit, see it what it brings you in return.

Go out there and have a win-win Christmas!