Negotiations are common occurrences in everyday life and individuals can use them on a daily basis to reach common results and outcomes. Notably, people negotiate in conflicts, businesses and other different situations in efforts to arrive at a common agreement. Through negotiations, individuals settle differences; they overcome conflict situations and look for a common way to collaborating and cooperating with others. People should understand that a negotiation is not a one-way process but rather a method where individuals exchange information with other parties. The success of negotiations relies on the maturity of the people involved and their negotiation skills and communication to build good will, confidence and trust. Effective negotiation does not involve conflicts. It is not about dishonesty or deviance. Further, it does not include posturing, threatening or bullying. This essay involves a negotiation account between my brother and I over household chores and the strategies and preparations for negotiation process.

 Growing up with my brother was one of the toughest experiences I have gone through.  Being my elder brother, he believed that most of the house chores such as washing dishes cooking were my duty. He never liked cleaning utensils. Neither did he like cooking. For this reason, we always argued and had conflicts on a daily basis regarding who should handle certain chores. My mother always told us that we should carry out all house chores together. Before she could go to work, and she used to call us and tell us the tasks to be performed throughout the day. She always said that we were big enough to have a house help clean utensils, cook and even do laundry for us. My mother’s instructions were that washing the utensils was my brother’s work and cooking was my major chore in the house.

However, things never turned out to be as expected. My brother never washed utensils. He bullied me. He made me wash the dishes after cooking. It took me a long time to tell my mother what was happening when she left for work. My mom was not happy with the whole issue, and thus he insisted if I would negotiate with my brother and perhaps ask him the reason as to why he never washed the dishes. I thought over and planned to talk to my brother two days after I had the discussion with mom. The night before the day of the negotiations, I made sure that all was well between my brother and I. In fact, I made sure that I slept early that day. I had already done some research on how to conduct negotiations.

Preparing For the Negotiation Process

To negotiate, I had to prepare first. I made sure that I was in a negotiating mood. The preparation enabled me to know what I exactly want, and what my brother wanted and the issue to be negotiated. My major aim for the negotiations was to get a solution to his problem. Since I was aware of what I exactly wanted to achieve, my confidence dramatically improved when the process of negotiating began. In this case, the skills applied in the process of negotiation were fundamental. For an individual to be a good negotiator, one should be a good listener and be able to follow a conversation without any difficulties. For sure, my brother is the kind of person who gets irritated easily, and he quickly picks up a fight whenever someone tries to interrogate him. In this case, I was patient with him. Identifying one’s strength and weakness allows an individual improve their negotiation skills. When negotiating, the negotiator should also understand his/her long-term goals and objectives. It is true that a person negotiates to get something or outcome, but it is important to check the effects of the aims in the long run. In my case, the outcome impacted my situation positively.

The second step I took was to clarify aims. The overriding objective in any negotiation is to achieve the goals the two parties have. There could be other aims, but the most important one is to achieve the goal or the outcome of the negotiation process. A good negotiator should not stop until he/she gets the outcome or aim. Even though my brother gets irritated easily, I was patient with him since my intentions were to get a solution to the problem at hand.  This step also calls for identifying what the counterpart’s wants and dislikes. Thus, it is important to note down what the expectations the other party is avoiding or perhaps look forward to. As a matter of fact, this exercise can be a stumper and finally a real eye opener. It is important to know you the person you are negotiating with. Knowing them make the negotiating process easier since one will have known their likes and dislikes. Getting to the bottom line with my brother is not an easy thing, so I kept my negotiations short.

The third step is to gather information. Once an individual realizes that they are in a negotiating process, it is important to collect information about the other side’s offer and in return use it to refine your own. In most instances, negotiating come to unstuck when one side does not want to listen, check or even take time in clarifying what the another side is offering. Thus, for a negotiation to be successful, both parties should be willing to do much of listening, clarifying and also checking. Notably, this is the most challenging step I encountered when negotiating with my brother since he always believed that he was right. Listening to him has always been a major challenge.

The fourth step was to negotiate with my side. It is a rare occurrence to enter into a negotiation to represent yourself. In this case, an individual negotiates a representative of others. Thus, the negotiator must aim to get the support they need, trust in their needs and the resources they require as well as the understanding and the freedom they need.

The fifth step was to get the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) which is considered the only sure way to successful negotiations. When an individual prepares for negotiations with one party by sounding out an alternative deal with another party, an individual’s gets walk away from power. Precisely, this means that even if the option used is not quite what you expected, if need be, you are still well prepared to go there.

The sixth step is to prepare the setting. When preparing for a negotiation, one needs to ask themselves five questions. The who question covers the person to negotiate with and what he/she will do. The where question covers the place, when includes time scale, why cover what the negotiation is all about and how covers how the case is to be presented. The negotiations took place in our living room. However, there was no time frame to how long will the negotiations last.

The last step is mental preparations. The right attitude towards negotiations is what determines whether a negotiator is successful or unsuccessful. Getting into the right mind frame before beginning a negotiating process should be a preparation frame. In the preparation plan,  I stay relaxed, and I was not in a hurry. Secondly, it is advisable not to reveal any feelings at any given point. Even those I had all reason to get upset with my brother during the negotiations, I stayed calm and was patient with him. Thirdly, do not put yourself above or below the person you are negotiating with. Fourth, do not be a bowl-beggar. Lastly, aim to be tough, alert and unyielding.

With the seven steps mentioned above, I had a successful negotiation with my brother. Surprisingly, he told me that peer influence made him ignore the house chores. His schoolmates always argued that boys were not supposed to carry out household chores and thus his unwillingness to assist. After the lengthy negotiations, he eventually apologized and agreed to be helping with the house chores. He as well stated his interest whereby he opted to cook rather wash dishes. Thus, the outcome was positive as I had anticipated. The outside parties, which in this case were my parents, were happy about how we handled the negotiation process

For the negotiation process to be a success, it is important to have a good night sleep the night before the negotiations. Good sleep gives enough rest to the negotiator and makes them alert for the following day. Notably, this works well if the negotiator plans to begin the process early in the morning. One should eat a nice meal and be free from stress before starting the process of negotiating. Adequate rest and being alert for negotiations improves individual’s concentration and ability to listen. A person will also be more quick-witted. Further, they will be in a position to respond to any attacks or questions posed to them. They will also not rush the negotiation process.  

In conclusion, negotiations are vital. However, preparations before beginning any negotiations are important as well. Clarifying aims, gathering information, BATNA, and mental preparations are some of the best ways to prepare for negotiations. People think that the best negotiator should be aggressive, persistent and active as a protection tool. However, this is not true. The person who always fights for his thoughts and emerges as the winner is not always the best negotiator. There is the need for negotiators to understand themselves before choosing the negotiation skills that fits them. Further, they should also know their personality. Negotiation skills are not inborn. However, they are raised with time.

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