Ride On Toys For 1 Year Olds With Parent Handle The Art of Negotiation Cotton Candy Style – 5 Anywhere, Anytime Negotiation Tips

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The Art of Negotiation Cotton Candy Style – 5 Anywhere, Anytime Negotiation Tips

Jim (my husband) and I took our 6 year old goddaughter (affectionately known as our goddess daughter) to a carnival recently. We are not parents and thought “How hard can this be? She is old enough to have a really great time, and I think we can handle this, no problem. I mean, she’s only 6!” In reflecting on the day (or what I can remember of it), I am reminded of a few keys for successfully negotiating in any situation, even with a 6 year old.

1. Understand your opponent’s needs. This is what some refer to as the “iceberg effect”. What is underneath the situation that you are not aware of? What is not obvious? By understanding the “need” that is driving your opponents’ position, you are better equipped to meet this need in your negotiation.

In our case, underneath the situation was the need for cotton candy. A need that would permeate through the entire day, a need that undetected in the beginning would become the secret weapon that would either make or break the day.

2. Set the stage well in advance. It’s important to set the stage ahead of time to make sure everyone understands how the negotiation will be handled. By not setting up the parameters right at the beginning, people will always push. As you can guess, “no means no” was not said at the start of the afternoon, and we found ourselves in the “could I please, pretty please” battle for most of the day. I hear you saying, “DUH! Rookie mistake”.

3. Never underestimate your opponent. Be prepared for surprises from your opponent. They may pull things out of left field and as a successful negotiator; you can’t let it rattle you. Who knew in 4 hours a 6 year old could win 4 stuffed animals, get 2 toys, enjoy 9 rides, and eat 2 rounds of mini donuts… while still working to satisfy her overall need for Cotton Candy.

4. Stay the Course. Do your best to not waiver no matter how compelling the argument is. Show them you are in the driver’s seat…at least in theory. I say in theory because if I had only understood what my goddess daughter really needed/wanted early, our first stop would have been for the pretty pink cotton candy. Given a second chance, we would have handled that need early on, and understood it as a need. We did not stay the course of our negotiations (yes on the way out we stopped and got a bag of pretty pink cotton candy – the duh light finally came on) and thus our word was no longer trustworthy.

5. Sign on the dotted line. Just when you think it’s over it might not be. We ended our day at the PNE thinking we made it through, the coast was clear. Just as we got in the car to drive her home she informed us, in true goddess style, we had to put the convertible top down. By this point, we thought we knew what we were doing, so down the top came. Phew! Just as we got on the 2nd Narrows Bridge, a little voice appeared speaking her true needs and the truth came out loud and clear.” I am COLD! Please put the top back up”. Back to Step 1 we went.

The moral of the story is that the next time you go to a carnival be prepared. Remember that the art of negotiation can be learned anytime or any place. You just never know by whom or when.

Watch out for the Cotton Candy – it will get you every time!

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