I often believe that my children are better negotiators than I am.  Even though small fry are without formal power or authority, kids seems to get the lion’s share of what they want.  Why is this so?

Number one:  Kids have high aspirations.  They are not carrying around years of baggage and rejection that limits their willingness to ask for the sky and then some.  Number two: Children understand the decision making process in the family organization.  They know how to work the system; they know who is soft, and who is not.  They are so intuitively smart in this area.   And Number three: Kids understand that “no” is an opening bargaining position.  They understand that it takes a while for their parents to get used to a new idea.  So, they will wait and wear you down with ferocious tenacity.

Our lives are full of negotiations every single day.  It is a way of life, whether you know it is happening or not.    For many of us, life is an ongoing process of trying to influence others, whether it is your friends, boss, client, landlord, car dealer, real estate seller and even a loved one.  Here are six tips I use to negotiate, that have helped me over the years.  (I hope my wife Amy is not reading this.)

1) Listen, do not talk.  If the other side is willing to talk, let them.  Take notes, and do not interrupt.  You will learn a lot about their position, and they will think you are the nicest person in the world for listening to them.

2) Create long pauses of silence.  This makes the other side nervous; they think you are contemplating your next big move.

3) Be humble.  It is OK to say I don’t know the answer to a question or problem.  It is Ok to say, “I am just not that smart in this area.”  It will bring down the defensive walls that have been built up, and will lead to a more human approach to reaching agreement.

4) Like Herb Cohen says, “Care, just not that much.”  This is so true, as it makes the appearance that you have other options.  My favorite word in business is “options.”

5) Create a win/win.  Negotiating is often a way to resolve conflict.  At times, some conflicts need not be dealt with, but avoided.  You will know when this happens.  If it needs to be dealt with, creating a win/win is the only remedy.  Be prepared to concede to make the outcome a win for everyone.  At the end of the day, it pays to make sure both sides walk away from the table with just a little buyer’s and seller’s remorse.

6) Understand your opponent completely.  Do your homework, and know everything there is to know.   You can Google them, call people that they know on LinkedIn, and call old employers or employees.  You never know what kind of treasure trove you may find.

So the next time your children are relentlessly negotiating their way to more dessert, remember that life is one big negotiation.  Take the emotion out of it, and treat it like a game, and you will be far more successful in the process.

Finally, if you will be in Denver on September 21st, please join me for Resort Realty Capital’s educational series called Life’s Financial Navigator, which will be held at the Denver Athletic Club at 7:15AM through 9AM.  Breakfast will be provided.  The fee is $15.00 but as my special guest, it is free.

Speaker: Christopher B. Pelley, CEO & Managing Director for Capital Investment Management and Jerry Paul, former SVP and Global Partner for INVESCO funds group.

We are pleased to announce Christopher B. Pelley, CEO & Managing  Director for Capital Investment Management and Jerry Paul, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) will be speaking on the latest macro-economic  financial issues facing United States investors. With 30 years of financial services experience, Mr. Pelley and Mr. Paul will provide their unique and broad perspective on navigating the current investment landscape both from a practical and psychological view. Chris’s bio can be found at www.cimcodenver.com/our_team.html.

(Disclaimer: Securities offered through First Allied Securities, Inc., a registered Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC)