Improving Negotiation Skills: The Middle Way

Which negotiation style describes you?


Randy Walton, expert negotiator and CEO of The Walton Group, gives us a lesson in negotiation skills that we can use whether we’re negotiating a retail transaction, a salary or an arrangement with a family member. Discussing the three common approaches to negotiations, Randy provides an assessment of each, challenges us to look at what’s stopping us, and shows us how to seek the healthiest path.

If you're uncomfortable with negotiation, if it just makes you so viscerally out of sorts whenever you have to go into any kind of negotiation conversation, I think you're leaving money on the table and value on the table. And very often prices are set and established in a lot of parts of the market based on the idea that there's going to be some negotiation in that process. And so, I think that you leave value on the table, but I think more importantly, there's a deeper issue going on, and that has to do with your ability to get comfortable with difficult conversations. And if you're uncomfortable negotiating for a car which is a somewhat impersonal transaction, how much more difficult is it going to be for you negotiating something like a salary, or negotiating an arrangement with a family member, or talking about something difficult with a spouse?

I mean, these things are all sort of symptomatic of an idea which is in any conflict, I'm going to do one of three things, and I'm either going to flee, I'm going to abandon the conversation, which means I'm just going to leave it to chance, and I'm going to feel like a victim. Maybe even demonstrate that through passive-aggressive behavior later, because I don't feel I was treated fairly because that's just the way the world is, or I'm going to become aggressive. And I'm going to become a difficult person, and that's going to create a whole other set of challenges in my life. But what we really advocate is this idea the middle way, and if you read ancient wisdom literature, if you read ancient Jewish literature, in fact, it's very pervasive concept. To talk about this idea the middle way, which is, I don't abandon, and I don't come on with aggression, but I seek a healthy conversation. And that comes because I have a level of personal mastery.

So I think the consequences of being unwilling to negotiate, yeah you might leave money on the table. It may make your life more expensive, you might be taken advantage of at times, but maybe the bigger issue is that you've got something deeper going on in your life that's it's stopping you from maybe going places that you were born to go. And you'll never pursue those, and you'll never find those things because the opportunity won't be there.


Randy Walton

A highly sought after speaker, consultant, and leadership expert, Randy Walton has been challenging the norms of business thought for over 20 years. Randy is a pioneer in developing compelling and profitable market strategies through ...

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