Workplace Rights

Weekly (3/28/11)

Topic of the Week  Tangled: Negotiating Strategies for the Real World:

At work we have to negotiate our salary, our time off and a daily minefield of challenges and headaches. It wears me out just thinking about it. Given how much we all have to negotiate at work, it never ceases to amaze me how little effort most of us put into improving our negotiating skills. Which reminds me of Andy Flitton, a New Zealand traffic officer. He recently cited an unnamed speeder for the second time in two years, 11,000 miles from the spot of the first ticket. Turns out both the cop and lead foot had moved from New Zealand to the U.K.
Like Flitton and that unlucky motorist, negotiations would be simple if we never saw the other party again. But often we'll bump into them again and again and again. That's why it's important to adopt a longer view, to remember that going for the last penny can make the next negotiation that much harder. I've included three Do's and one Don't to help you becoming a better negotiator below. For more, check out "Fearless Negotiating:" by Michael Donaldson (McGraw Hill, 2007).
DO wish. Most people in a negotiation never take the time to think about what they wish would happen, that's a huge mistake. For every time that you'll be setting yourself up to be disappointed, there will be many more times where you'll walk away with less than you could have had. Before every negotiation make a wish list and look at it frequently.
DO want. Donaldson chose the word "want," but he could have just as easily made it "need," because we all need to know what we need out of every negotiation. I also think it's important to write it down, especially if the negotiation will take a while to complete. Because over time your memory can shift your wishes and wants. That's why it's helpful to be able to go back and be reminded of your original thoughts going into the negotiation. Don't get locked in, but do maintain a healthy perspective.
DO walk. And yes, the walk. What is totally unacceptable to you and if presented will give you no choice but to leave the negotiations. Again this is best when it's not a line in the sand, that you can lose perspective on. But a clear point of demarcation.
DON'T think win/lose. I'll never forget one negotiation that I did with a union representative. We spent some time talking about the issues and we learned that there were a bunch of areas where she could give ground that would really help me. And areas where I could give ground that would really help her. For every intractable negotiation, there are often many more where both sides can win, but only if there is sufficient trust and dialogue.
Follow these tips and the next time you bump into someone you negotiated with before, you won't have to worry about getting into trouble with the law, you'll have the foundation of trust to work together again.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Sherrie Campbell is a work relations expert and award-winning comedian. Check out their 13 years of searchable content at They'd also love to hear your workplace rants or raves. Email them via

Thought of the Week

"Flattery is the infantry of negotiation"

–Lord Chandos

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Losing Ground…Pay differentials are increasing between women and men

    38% of women feel they're paid less than male counterparts in 2011
    In 2008, only 34% felt that way
    In 2003, only 31% felt that way


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