"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." (Mahatma Gandhi, 1948)

This can be a sensitive area for some professionals. IT DOESNT HAVE TO BE. Some people fear an appraisal more than bathing with tarantulas. They put themselves through torture in the weeks running up to it. Sleepless nights, shaking hands and uncertainty will not get you the rise you have been working for. Your manager may have overlooked how well you have progressed in 6 months, they may have not noticed the extra money you bought in for the company, or the three extra hours you worked last Friday evening. It is down to YOU and only you, to politely and professionally point them out. This situation quickly becomes a negotiation.


Image taken from google.com

Image taken from google.com

Understanding the process of negotiation, the styles and the techniques used, can dramatically increase your chances of walking away smiling and satisfied, as opposed to grimacing and blushing (if those two are possible at the same time, I think they are talking from experience).

Robbins 5 step negotiation strategy really helps me; it may help you as well! Robbins (2005) I like it because it makes sense. That may sound obvious, but the first and last are huge players for me in the negotiation process, and easily skipped. Preparing what you want to say, and then drawing closure around it at the end clears everything up. No loose ends or awkwardness necessary.

  1. Preparation and Planning
  2. Definition of ground rules
  3. Clarification and justification
  4. Bargaining and problem solving
  5. Closure and implementation

The video below shows Robbins offering advice in a quite comedic way. We can carry this advice with us into an appraisal, negotiation of job offer or performance review situation. Changing something tiny can make huge results. Changing the way you negotiate to suit the party you are negotiating with can have huge results as well!

Understanding BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) can also help settle a positive agreement for both parties. Having a strong BATNA can offer an alternative agreement within the settlement range you are happy with, if nothing or little is being agreed on. BATNA also makes you aware of the lowest settlement you are willing to agree on. By preparing this, it reduces the panic you may be struck with in mid negotiation.


Two very different styles of negotiation you need to know and very simple to understand. Understanding these will help you establish which one you are faced with when entering a negotiation.

Distributive- “I win, you lose”, short term fix, oppose each other

Integrative- “I win, you win” long term, congruent with each other


Hope some of this helps you in negotiation. Sophie

The title to this post may be misleading. I am not a parent. However, this question applies to more of us than just those with children of our own. As you read down the page you will begin to understand what I mean.

Theories of influence and negotiation can be extremely beneficial in professional practice. However, what happens when we bring our work home? The old cliché implies that we should leave our work at work and have a separate home life. Yet does the circumstance change dependant on your profession? If you are a surgeon, dealing with death everyday then yes of course you need to be able to escape from that role. If you are a professional negotiator, or spend your 9-5 working on conflict resolution, is it even possible to detach from that role or do those skills begin to embed in your personality?

I am sure parents aim to maintain their parental position as the elder and wiser and the one in charge. However, what happens when parents can’t negotiate or compromise? The children sneak of and do it anyway in my experience. My mother always compromised and it worked really well, I didn’t rebel and I developed respect for her trusting me. If you practice negotiation frequently in your job do you practice this in your home life, or does the coin flip and you obtain the stance of “parents know best, the children are wrong.”

Image taken from google.com

Image taken from google.com

I was fortunate enough to experience two hours with two top negotiators from the Police force in Hampshire, who had agreed to run a guest lecture at my University. As soon as I entered the room, they were in role and yet comedic. One particularly, often fell into short negotiation role plays. He did it so naturally, it was almost as if his humour had moulded around his job as a negotiator. I began to think, is he like this with his wife? Are his children beginning to develop specialist negotiation skills from an early age with an advantage on the rest of us? Perhaps, this can back fire…

I was speaking to someone last week, who is a specialist teaching assistant in a school in my local area. We began to discuss the norms of an average day in this secondary school in the shoes of a typical student. Swearing at teachers, non attendance at detentions all conjured up a shocked response from me. Yet the most shocking was the issue of “time out cards” to students. This means that if the student is finding the lesson too much, is struggling, becoming stressed and overwhelmed during a lesson, they present this card to the teacher and can walk out of class. The phrase “get out of jail free” springs to mind.

Image taken from google.com

Image taken from google.com

When the cane was in use, I imagine students wouldn’t dare negotiate out of that situation. Yet now, it’s avalanched to the other end of the spectrum. No negotiation, compromise or even explanation needed, simply a card exempting you from class.

Drawing back to my original question, should we negotiate with our children? Do you agree with “time out” cards in class, or should the teacher have the power to decide who does and doesn’t leave the classroom?

Negotiation can be simply defined as a process to achieve what you want.

Compromise is needed in a hostage situation, yet isn’t usually a negotiation technique favoured by organisations. Both parties need to reach an agreement quickly and when each side are adamant they are the right, compromise is highly difficult. This can be increasingly difficult across cultures, which this post later highlights in greater detail.

Competing, avoiding, accommodating and collaborating are other methods of conflict resolution.(Buchanan and Huczynski 2010).

Robert Cialdini influence theory highlights some of the psychology behind human behaviour and persuasion using six principles:

Image taken from Googe.com

Image taken from Googe.com

Power and politics are catalysts for conflict. Areas of North East Africa are currently treading water through the tidal wave of conflict. Avoiding conflict has recently become a conflict resolution strategy from the west. However, it is short lived and the heart of the problem remains. The difficulties are, when lives are at risk do you accept the risks and attempt collaboration, or adhere by what the opposition wants and avoid, therefore saving lives yet sidestepping the root of the problem?

Image taken from dailyalternative.com

Image taken from dailyalternative.com

Following the hostage crisis in Algeria and the French intervention in Mali earlier this year, in January the Foreign Office urged British citizens to immediately leave Benghazi, Libya as they believed there was a serious threat targeted at Westerners. Did Libya feel their territory was violated? Could earlier intervention have recovered this evacuation? OR, is the West beginning to panic and avoid situations involving any possible conflict?

Image taken from usatoday.com

Image taken from usatoday.com

Negotiator skills are best put into practice during a hostage situation; more often than not it comes down to a matter of life or death.

The foreign office urged Brits to depart the country. Were they scared another hostage siege was to take place? I think their decision spared lives. Hostage situations test the most professional negotiators. In 2010 a British couple was captured for over a year by Somalian pirates. They were released after a large ransom fee was agreed. This is a rare story of hostage recovery. Avoidance when possible can be successful.

Do you think avoiding conflict should be considered in particular circumstances?


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