“Kids are great negotiators because even when they appear to have stopped negotiating, they have only paused.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert Click to Tweet
“Negotiate Better Like Kids – Advice How to Immediately Increase Negotiation Skills Now”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
Kids tend to be good negotiators. In fact, adults can learn a lot from kids about negotiation and become better negotiators. Part of the reason kids are good negotiators is how they formulate their plans before transacting for what they seek. And sometimes, the little schemers are unaware of how they will acquire their end goal. But they adapt and learn on their journey’s way. The belief that they will achieve a successful outcome if they do not stop trying emboldens their persistence.
I will highlight how one kid engaged his grandpa to get what he wanted. It is a story that will warm your heart – filled with great negotiation insights and lessons.
A kid asked if his grandpa would take him to the store and buy him a toy. The grandfather said he was doing things around the house. The persistent kid asked if they could go after his grandpa finished. The grandfather said, “I’ll think about it.”
The kid then asked if he could help his grandpa think. With a slight bite in his voice, the grandfather smiled and said, ”that’s okay; I don’t need help thinking.”
Still pursuing his toy, the kid asked when they might go to the store. The grandfather wanting to remain pleasant, said after I finish the chores. The kid said, “Can I help you, grandpa? That way, we can finish faster and then go to the store.”
Change the scene – now the grandfather and kid are at the store.
The grandfather asked the kid what toy he wanted. The kid said he wanted two toys. The grandfather, somewhat perplexed, said, “you asked for one toy.” The kid, not missing a beat, said, “I want two toys.” At that point, grandpa became slightly annoyed, and it showed.
The kid sensing his grandfather’s annoyance, said he wanted one toy for himself – and he wanted his grandpa to have the other toy for being such a good grandpa. The kid ended up getting two toys.
Dissecting The Kid’s Negotiation Tactics
1. Don’t be daunted by objections.
When the kid initially asked his grandpa to buy him a toy, the grandpa’s reply for not doing so was due to work needing addressing around the house. That was a soft no. Undaunted, the kid asked if they could go to the store after his grandpa finished the work.
Lesson: Be observant of the timing of your requests in a negotiation.
When someone says no to a request, that does not mean the negotiation is over. No may mean it is not the right time for the person to whom you make your request to grant it. Like the kid did when he asked if they could go to the store once grandpa finished his work, you can test other possibilities as to a time that might be more appropriate to have your request granted.
2. Seek to assist.
When the grandfather said he would think about taking the kid to the store, the kid asked his grandpa if he could help him think.
Lesson: To become more persuasive during a negotiation, understand the thought process motivating the other negotiator’s actions.
When the kid offered to help his grandpa think, he was getting into his grandpa’s head. In addition, the kid had something else going for him; he was adorable. That was the kid’s grandpa, and grandparents adore their grandkids.
While you may not be adorable to your negotiation counterpart, you can be likable. And likability can serve as your ally during your negotiation.
3. Observe the reactions/body language of others when making requests.
At one point, the grandfather may have become annoyed with his grandkid’s persistence. That occurred when the kid asked, “what time can we go to the store,” after the grandfather had evaded the question the first time. The kid sensing his grandfather’s angst asked if he could help with the work.
Lesson: When negotiating, position yourself as someone attempting to aid the other negotiator. In so doing, you are more likely for them to reciprocate when you make requests.
Kids are very attuned to the body language gestures people exhibit when negotiating. For example, kids observe how someone says no – whether it is hard or soft. They also note other gestures accompanying responses, smiles, frowns, or neutral expressions.
From those insights, kids adopt their approach toward getting what they seek. Those are invaluable tactics that adults can adopt to increase their negotiation skills.
4. Consider how you can reward the other negotiator.
In the kid’s case, once he and his grandpa got to the store, he said he wanted two toys. When his grandpa reminded him that he said he wanted a toy, meaning one, the kid said, “one for me and one for you.” And the kid said he wanted the second toy for his grandpa since his grandfather was so good.
While considering how his grandson had manipulated him during their interaction, the grandfather found joy in the boy’s wit and negotiation abilities. And the kid got two toys.
Lesson: When opposing negotiators are happy, especially from something you did while negotiating, they are more likely to grant concessions happily.
The kid got what he wanted, and his grandpa got a negotiation lesson and story I am sure he will tell for the rest of his life.
Good negotiation skills are essential to one’s endeavors. By understanding and utilizing kids’ tactics and strategies, adults can learn to negotiate more effectively. That will improve their negotiation skills and outcomes in personal and professional settings. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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