Our initial negotiating skills begin while very young--one or the other of our parents say “do this—or else”. Although not truly negotiating since we really do not have a choice at that point in our lives it is the beginning. As we get older the “or else” turns into—if you do this-you can do that”. For example, if you want a certain toy you might be told “if you clean your room I will get you the toy you desire”. Or you might see a very young child try to hand another very young child a toy in the hopes that he or she will be handed the toy the other child is holding. This too is a simple negotiating act. By the time you reach your teens you have simple negotiating skills down pat! Suddenly it is “If I do this can I do or get that”. Or you might observe a teen saying to another teen—“if you lend me your blouse, I will lend you the dress you want to borrow”. Of course negotiations don’t always work out the way children or teens want!!!!! And warfare can and does occur along with temper tantrums!! But then parents are dictators, no matter how benevolent—they call the shots. The skill set is in place, ingrained in our subconscious—it is time to enter the world outside our homes.
Ok, we have made it through high school—we have negotiated someone else’s knowledge of Math for our knowledge of say English. It is time to enter college or the workplace. In college we still use the simplistic negotiating skill of you help me with this and I will help you with that. At that first job—I want this amount of money and this is what I am willing to do for it-or the owner says I will pay you this if you are willing to do that. Most people never get beyond this type of negotiating skill, but with additional training-they can!!
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