How to Negotiate with Your Quarantine Partners


How to Negotiate

Being quarantined inside is difficult on its own but doing it with other people truly makes it hard. Too often we shy away from negative conflict which only makes issues grow. What negotiation strategies can you use to get an agreement that fits what you need and help with employers and customers as well?

On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Alexandra Carter who is Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School and the author of  “Ask for More: Ten Questions to Negotiate Anything” discusses how you can negotiate with your quarantine partners. She also shows how you can use these same strategies in your small business.

Alexandra Carter, Mediation Clinic Interview

Alex starts out by emphasizing that you must choose the best time to negotiate. She suggests that we are all under a lot of stress so 9 AM when a Zoom call is beginning at the same time as your children’s online education may not be the ideal time. Alternately, Alex says to pick a quieter place when you can lead with questions and not arguments.

Before you engage in any negotiation, Alex believes you first must ask yourself what you need. Look at what you are trying to accomplish or what problems you are trying to solve. She calls this the “mirror section” of the negotiation process.

Next, Alex wants people to remember that negotiation is not about having “the answer or controlling the conversation, it’s about asking questions to get better results!” She says the first question to ask in every business or personal scenario is “tell me about what you need” rather than “why do you need this”. Alex calls this the “window section” of the negotiation where you get as much information about the motivations of other person as possible. In addition, when you ask for what they need, they usually then reciprocate and ask you the same question.

Alex reminds us that leading with questions takes “the heat down” in any negotiation. The next question to ask is “what are your ideas for the next step?”

Emotions are critical to negotiations. Alex believes that anger usually covers up for fear and guilt; during the pandemic, people are feeling both since they are in a loss frame of mind. Allowing both sides to suggest solutions will that show them what they can gain through an agreement is critical.

Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.


Image: Alexandra Carter

This article, “How to Negotiate with Your Quarantine Partners” was first published on Small Business Trends