Generosity and Value

A few days ago I wrote a post with some practical tips on negotiation.

When I write, I compose the post, then put it in the queue to be published on the site and emailed out to all the site’s subscribers.  So, the actual email doesn’t hit my inbox until some time later.  And, when I re-read the post when it arrived in my inbox, it felt really inauthentic.  Like  I was trying to explain how to get a lower price at the used car dealership.

Which makes me think I failed a little bit in explaining.

Here’s the truth: I didn’t think about negotiation until I was 31 years old, when I was required to take a class on it as part of of my MBA program.  And I still cringe when I think about any situation where I’m fighting over dividing value with someone else–the car salesman, my boss at work, etc.

But this is what I’ve learned:  if you are a generous person who hates the idea of haggling over value, you have a responsibility to learn about this topic.  Negotiation decides both how to divide the pie and how big the pie will be to start with.  Good negotiators figure out how to create value for everyone involved by listening well to other’s needs, by asking good questions, and by thinking outside the box.

Because I spent so long cringing at the thought of negotiation, I missed out on opportunities to have a more fulfilling life.  When you don’t understand where the things you can easily provide and really enjoy providing are most deeply valued, you give less.  And when you make offers that are not valued by the people around you, you struggle more while receiving less fulfillment from your efforts.

So, if you’re a generous person you have a responsibility to learn about negotiation, because it will help you create more value for yourself and for others in your daily life.

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