Are you Abridging Your Negotiation Opportunities By Ignoring Race

Does race matter when negotiating? If so, to what degree does it matter? Since many elements go into the recipe of a successful negotiation, addressing the role race plays in a negotiation is one of those ingredients that could prevent the recipe from being spoiled.

With former President Carter stating that racism is still very prevalent in the US, he”s raised the awareness of race in the minds of a lot of Americans. As such, race is something that should be discussed, but it”s viewed almost as a “third rail” (something that could cause serious harm) when negotiating.

In many situations, when people have the perception that they are not receiving their fair share from an endeavor, they fight back with resistance. They seek scapegoats to identify as the source of their troubles. When such situations prevail in a negotiation, the undertones can be perilous. Worse, such sentiments can lead to unforeseen impediments that can kill a negotiation.

Why then are most negotiators afraid to address race during a negotiation?

  1. It makes them feel uncomfortable.
  2. If their perception is inaccurate, they don”t want to expound upon it and run the risk of being perceived as racist.
  3. They don”t know how to deal with such a matter.
  4. They believe if they don”t address it, the problem will mysteriously vanish.
  5. In the US and other parts of the world, race and ethnicity is a subject that”s not spoken of in mixed company (amongst people of different ethnic backgrounds).

Since the undercurrent of race can ooze throughout any negotiation and racism is an unpleasant fact, you can”t measure it when negotiating. So, deal with it. If you sense it, question your beliefs aloud. To the degree you don”t address the hidden element of race in a negotiation, you run the risk of subliminally alienating the other negotiator. If the other negotiator says your assessment of race being part of the negotiation is inaccurate, apologize and move on. If he admits that there are elements of race involved, you will have addressed race as you would address any other objection or concern. In essence, you would have done so in an effort to solve a problem … and everything will be right in the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are:

  • Sometimes you suffer more by hiding from something than facing up to it. If you sense race is an element in your negotiation address it; as unpleasant as it may be, you”ll more than likely enhance the negotiation process.
  • As you negotiate, determine which points are more important and never fear discussing those points.
  • One way to sensitize yourself to the issue of race is to assess your feelings and determine the source of those emotions. Then, if the issue of race is injected in the negotiation, you will have formed a basis from which to speak.
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