In business, any effective negotiation will involve prior planning because, in a negotiation, one party wants something which they would like the other party to provide. There is no magic in that.
Example: I want you to read this Post so I write something which will hopefully convince you to do just that.
In a business negotiation, the term “position of strength” is often used. It is an integral part of negotiation planning because it basically identifies what you have to negotiate with (aka what the other party would find interesting). In my above example, there are two perceived strengths. One is that you are a regular visitor and will likely read anything as long as the subject line (and possibly a speed-read) gets your attention. The second strength is my belief that I can write a Post which is both interesting and thought provoking. If I am correct, then the negotiation is successful.
The ideal negotiation results in a win/win situation and, in my example, I am happy that you read my Post, and you are happy because it was an interesting read.
Life is a constant series of negotiations, although we rarely see it as such. Even shopping is a type of negotiation. Your “position of strength” is having the finances available to pay for what you want. Your belief is that if you present such money, the store will let you leave with the goods!
Shopping gets really interesting when a new car (e.g) is involved because you may wish to negotiate the price. Your “position of strength” may be the knowledge that the dealership is unloading models due to overstocking, slow sales, or perhaps the new model year vehicles are imminent.
Relationships are, however, where I want to focus because they all involve negotiation at some level. It may be a subconscious or intuitive act, but it is still negotiation.
If I want to be friends with you, I have to provide a reason for you to agree. My “blogging friends” are such, presumably because they generally agree with my view of life, and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. They have also learned a little about me from my interactions with their Blogs.
It could be argued that sometimes friends will do something for nothing and negotiation is not involved, but I would challenge that perception. If a dear friend wanted me to go “out of my way” to help her resolve an issue, then I certainly would… but it was technically a negotiation. Her “position of strength” would be the knowledge that our relationship is close enough that I would agree to anything that was reasonable. What would I “win” from it? I would win the sense of satisfaction from knowing that I had helped a friend in need, and that perhaps the relationship was even stronger as a result! If she had misjudged my interest in her well-being, or I did not have the ability to do as requested, then it would have been a negative experience. An unsuccessful negotiation.
When asking friends to do something, and assuming success is desired (why else would you ask?), then the “position of strength” is important to recognize because it can either provide a reasonable chance of success, or can emphasize the strong possibility of an imminent failure!
If I am continually going out of my way for you, but you are always too busy to accommodate me, then your “position of strength” (the relationship) is weakening on a regular basis. Eventually, our relationship would be strained to the point of potential disintegration. Neither of us would have a “position of strength”, which would make negotiating totally ineffective!
My “position of strength” with Ray is my belief that he knows he is loved here and accepted as part of our family, and that he is food motivated (and I have food). Ray’s “position of strength” is his (intuitive) belief that we love him and want him to be happy… and will gladly respond to his needs.
Applying the concept of negotiating life, and determining “positions of strength” when interacting with others, can often avoid “sensitive” moments. Perhaps before asking anybody for anything, a few moments taken to review your negotiating position could be invaluable! You might just save yourself from an awkward situation!
Food for thought.