Negotiating Differences

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In important relationships, ultimatums rarely work. Instead, it helps to know how to give and take through effective negotiation. Confrontation, cooperation and understanding are the most effective tools we have to bring successful conclusions to our occasional differences with other people.

Confront Positively
In order to resolve differences, you must be willing to face the other person. You don't need to be angry or accusing but you should be calm and direct. Positive confrontation involves openly defining the problem as you see it. Once the problem is out in the open, it's best to declare your posture on the matter and how you feel about the area of concern.

Be Cooperative
As each person's point of view is presented, it's important not to become too defensive. Instead, it's best to listen carefully and to ask questions to help clarify the other person's posture and feelings. Once all opinions and concerns are expressed and understood, each person should be encouraged to suggest ideas for solving the conflict. In offering your own opinions, present a posture reflecting your willingness to reach compromise agreements unless the matter involves your integrity and principles, or your cherished beliefs and values.

Be Understanding
To negotiate wisely, put yourself in the other person's shoes. What would satisfy and meet the other person's needs? Avoid criticism of the suggestions offered by the other person. Instead, offer solutions that will be potentially beneficial to everyone. When people feel understood and accepted, they are far more likely to be willing to consider your point of view and to work toward a satisfactory outcome.