Being comfortable in your role is an essential ingredient to being effective whether as a salesperson, CEO, small group leader, negotiator or mediator. Comfort, a.k.a. confidence, in a negotiation comes from knowing the subject matter, knowing what you want, knowing what you need, and knowing what the other person wants and needs.
It is a powerful tactic to exude confidence that others can sense. Others will be inclined to defer to you. They may even consider your proposals! Such confidence comes in part from mastering the essentials of the subject under discussion and in part from understanding the process of the situation.
This latter aspect is often neglected as people wander willy-nilly through the minefield of a negotiation playing it by ear. It is far too easy to set off mines with little missteps that potentially trigger anger, resentment and potentially open hostility from the other person.
It is uncommon for two people to set the ground rules when casually attempting to resolve an agrument. But if it is an important issue it often helps to have a rulebook, a.k.a. mutual understanding, to keep things on track. Mediators use this tactic, because they have the authority to invoke the rules, to keep warring parties from erupting and walking out. So if the issue under debate is important, feel free to propose at the onset setting an agenda to guide the discussion. Setting an agenda allows you, during the heat of the moment, to keep everyone focused by guiding them back to the agenda.
This last point is important in relationships. In a healthy marriage spouses learn how to argue and resolve conflict without damaging their relationship. It makes sense that in a troubled relationship the partners consider how they fight and how to change the way they interact to preserve the health of their relationship….while they still want to stay together.
In Seven Secrets to WINNING Without Losing a Friend, I discuss the importance of leadership and taking control of the process to improve your odds of reaching an accord.