Negotiating. From when we were kids with our parents, to the restaurant you’ll eat at for dinner, to taking time off, to salary discussions at work, we negotiate on a near constant and daily basis. But what is the actual point to a negotiation? Many think that it is something to be won against an opponent. This actually cannot be further from the truth. The point of a negotiation is to maximize the utility for the parties involved until there is no longer additional value that can be derived from either side.
The best negotiations that I have seen both in the workplace and outside of it, have been ones that leave everyone in a better place afterward. However, I often see individuals incidentally sabotaging themselves by being either too selfish or trying to “win” in a situation that generally calls for openness and clarity in order to maximize utilities.
Every situation is different. But approaching it with an open mind and with a focus on how to provide utility for everyone generally proves helpful.