“Shark Tank” uber-shark Kevin O’Leary said it: “So much of life is a negotiation.” Perhaps you chose a career in facilities management because you’re more comfortable dealing with buildings than with people. But buildings house people, and sooner or later, any facilities manager is going to have to deal with the human factor. Whether you’re discussing the acquisition of a secure high density storage system or simply trying to change a few light bulbs in someone’s office, you can find yourself facing a hostile personality. How do you negotiate to get what you need while keeping everyone happy?
Consultant Andy Raskin recommends getting the contentious parties to the point of “that’s right.” He cites the work of former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who ran high-profile negotiations in hot spots like Iraq and Colombia. Voss is particularly skilled at active listening – reflecting back a speaker’s words to create affirmation and stimulate them to continue the dialogue. Voss found that when active listeners acknowledged the emotions underlying their opponent’s position, the hardliners felt that their concerns had been heard and understood – a “that’s right” moment. And from that point of respect and understanding, negotiations could be resolved easily.
It’s a technique that works in business life as well as international relations. The next time you’re facing a difficult negotiation, try the active listening style Andy Raskin discusses in his Medium blog. You may find that your proposal is swiftly granted.
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When you are making a major business purchase, you might feel like a tourist at a foreign bazaar – too many offers of something you’re not sure you want. What’s a buyer to do?
According to these 12 tips from Renewable Energy Vermont, information is the key to being a better buyer. Have a clearly defined set of goals for the purchase, then do your research to learn about the vendors. Investigate their reputations; ask about their industry expertise, their licenses, or other credentials. Learn about their involvement in professional organizations and the community; find out if they are socially responsible toward their workers and the environment.
Ideally, you’ll find a selection of vendors who can be your partners for the long term – companies that share the same values as your business, who can provide support and advice as well as products and services. There’s more to a vendor than product and price.
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