Anybody initiating a negotiation and expressing demands during difficult times is often accompanied by a feeling of uneasiness. Is it acceptable in a situation such as the one we’re experiencing now, where everybody is in an equally bad state, to express your own demands? Or is it unfair? Are you not using the crisis to your own advantage? We were asked these questions during a webinar.

A person is unfair if they break the rules. But what are the rules of negotiating and which of the written and unwritten rules do you know? It is this very question that leads us to the heart of the problem: the rules exist in your head, they are neither communicated nor laid down. You tacitly assume that your negotiating partner knows the rules – your rules – accepts them and even follows them.

You have certain expectations and assume, naturally, that these expectations will be met. You have a certain expectation with regard to fairness. If you play fair, you also expect your opponent to play fair. And when they don’t, you turn away, go into “Not like this!” mode and feel disappointed. Unfair behavior is not to be tolerated, but if you are disappointed, then the problem is yours, not your opponent’s. You have not communicated the rules – which are complete and correct according to your values.

Negotiating tips:

  • Enter a negotiation with absolutely no expectations regarding fairness
  • If you have expectations, you will be disappointed
  • Lay down the rules at the beginning of the negotiation
  • Turn unwritten rules into written rules
  • Be a good example and stick to the rules yourself
  • If your negotiating partner doesn’t stick to the rules, give them a warning
  • Is it acceptable to be unfair? No! Is it acceptable to start a negotiation now? Yes!

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