For that toastmasters project, I had to speak about negotiation style and my experience of negotiations. Sometimes, even when rehearsal, it doesn’t go as expected. But it is okay, because practice makes better. Below is my script:

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with a urge to pee. “Should I go to the pee now?”, “but, I am so comfy in bed”, “yeah, but I really need to pee”, “can it wait until the morning?”, “What time is it?”, “4am, maybe I can hold it until I get up”, “yeah, but it’s urgent…”

Toastmaster, ladies and gentlemen.

Life is a constant negotiation. Today, I am going to share with you 3 essential ingredients to include in a successful negotiation recipe 1) our emotional state 2) active listening and 3) the desired outcome.

How many of you can relate to the opening story – should I go to pee now or stay in bed? We all have at some point inner discussion with ourselves negotiation what we should do. Think about it: 1) Shopping: should I buy that dress, should I not buy it? 2) Food: should I eat that chocolate? Should I not eat it? 3) Going out for a drink: should I go for it… should I go for it.

Let’s be honest, some decisions require less effort than others, but we constantly negotiate with ourselves what is the best solution, based on our past experiences and our current emotional state. A drink on Friday after a tough week might be welcomed, whereas a drink on Monday might be “No thanks”. Unless, maybe, if it’s Eastern Monday.

Nevertheless, our emotional state is an essential ingredient for our internal negotiation. It is particularly true as well when we negotiate with others. Imagine, you are having your performance review and you are asking for a promotion – if you just had a fight with your best friend, the outcome might not be as positive as if you just had a big hug together.

Your emotional state will determine your style of negotiating that promotion – either more aggressively pushing for promotion and maybe arguing with your superior OR being more accommodating and collaborative, mentioning your arguments and listening to your superior calmly.

Listening is also an essential ingredient for negotiation I believe; it is very easy to listen to reply rather than to listen to understand. Have you ever interrupted someone talking, because you already knew the answer? If so, you were listening to reply, you were assuming to understand and not actively listening to understand. That’s okay, we all do it, me included. However, as Stephen covey says, “Seek first to understand Then to be understood” and that’s why, to me, it’s a key ingredient to the recipe.

Additionally, thanks to that that Toastmaster project, a successful negotiation requires you to be clear with the desired outcome. Indeed, I had a meeting with my team last night and my goal was to introduce a new way to set our objectives. 1) I introduced the new concept, 2) talked about the benefits, 3) share the company strategic objectives, and 4) asked them to fill out theirs. All went well, however, I had that feeling that they were not really enthusiastic about it. While completing this project, I realised I forgot to mention one key thing: the desired outcome! Mentioning it, I believe, would have allowed them to be more accepting of that new idea, because they would have understood why we are doing it. That was my mistake and I am glad that I have made it, because through it, I was able to learn the importance of always keeping in mind the desired outcome in any negotiation and I added it as an essential ingredient of my recipe.

Ladies and gentlemen’s, the essential ingredients for a successful negotiation recipe are 1) to be aware of our current emotional state, 2) to seek first to understand then to be understood, and 3) to always keep in mind the desired outcome.

I am sure there are many more ingredients to that recipe, and I am sure I will discover them overtime through learning experiences. But I would like to challenge you by asking you: what are the current ingredients of your successful negotiation’s recipe? And which ones should you include?

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