Sunday, June 11, 2023

The Art of Negotiation — Setting the Stage — The Connected Relationship

The first step in negotiating with your partner is to check in with yourself in regards to

  • The topic.  What’s your take on the topic at hand?  What makes it important to you?  What core values are at play that make it important?  What’s your narrative about what makes it important?  Is it a “deal breaker” or a “nice to have”?

  • Are you ready to have the conversation?  Set yourself up for success.  We don’t communicate when we’re stressed.  Are you tired, hungry, thirsty, or lonely?  If so, you’re likely not going to enter into the conversation as the best version of yourself to hear and be heard.

  • Are you open or closed?  Emotionally.  Physically.  Is your intention to actually have a conversation, or be right and get your way?  Does your body feel open and relaxed, or closed and tense?  These are all indicators of whether or not it’s a good time to take the next step.

The next step is to check with your partner to see if it’s a good time for them to have the conversation.  Are they stressed, hungry, thirsty, tired, or lonely?  Are they in the middle of doing something?  If so, they will likely feel like you’re dropping a bomb on them if you initiate the conversation — because you are!  

Again, the goal is to set the conversation up for you both to hear and be heard.  If now isn’t a good time for your partner, ask them when is and agree to come back to the conversation at that time.

Ultimately, the biggest goal for ANY conversation with your partner, and especially the hard ones like negotiating, is to deepen the connection in your relationship, have a better understanding of yourself and your partner, and come to an agreement that works FOR BOTH OF YOU.

When you do sit down with your partner to have a conversation about the thing that you disagree on, lead with openness and curiosity.  Ask them the same questions you asked yourself about what makes this topic so important, what values drive the importance for them, and what narratives they have about it.  

If you find yourself becoming “closed”, feeling constricted in your body, losing curiosity and shifting into being right, or being defensive, that’s a clear sign that you need a break.  Make an agreement to put the conversation on pause for at least 20 minutes so that you can take a walk, take some deep breaths, remember the goal, and come back to love and curiosity.

You and your partner have talked through a potential compromise.  Congrats!!  All of that hard work paid off! 

But make sure you agree on a follow up conversation to see how this new way of doing things is working for each of you.  Then, go through the above steps again.  Repeat until you’re in a place that feels right for both of you.  

And, to be perfectly clear, just because you have these tools doesn’t automatically make is easy-peasy to implement them.  Schedule a free consultation with us and we can talk about how coaching can help you put the steps into action in your relationship.

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