Interpersonal Negotiation Skills

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The very thought of negotiating is intimidating, yet we are all experienced negotiators. The process of taking turns in a conversation, or deciding who says hello first, involves tacit negotiation. Some types of negotiation may be almost subconscious, such as holding a gate open for another to ride through. it is one thing to negotiate, another to be a skilled negotiator. Whenever choices exist, there is potential for disagreement. Such differences, when handled properly, can result in richer, more effective, creative resolutions and interaction. But, alas, it is difficult to consistently turn disagreements into opportunities. As we put into practice effective interpersonal negotiation techniques, we gain confidence in our ability to find agreement and overcome challenges. This confidence can be contagious. 

Negotiation is not about making it to the top alone, but rather, in tandem with the other person with whom we are in disagreement. Just as with climbing Half Dome, there will be challenging and difficult moments; but, oh, how worthwhile the results! The good news about conflicts is that there are simple and effective tools to generate positive solutions and strengthen relationships damaged by disputes. Do not let the simplicity of the concepts obscure the challenge of carrying them out consistently. 


Gregorio Billikopf
University of California