The negotiation involved where to go on a one-month vacation with my partner. She wanted to go somewhere warm, with beaches, and stay in a resort. I wanted to go to a European city and do a lot of cultural activities. We need to purchase our plane tickets and book accommodations soon, which is why a negotiation is in order.
To plan for this negotiation, I prepared a set of web pages, photos, and other materials including an estimated cost breakdown. I wanted to have the most information possible during the negotiation process. I also prepared in my mind a list of what I believed to be my partner's points-of-view and potential objections to mine. I prepared a list of potential places I wanted to visit, and was ready to hear what my partner had in mind. Also part of the preparation process included creating a safe and enjoyable space for the negotiations to take place, where both parties would feel comfortable. I prepared coffee.
The negotiation took place over the duration of about forty-five minutes to one hour. Both of us had our laptops open. She had prepared a list of places, and had checked out travel guides from the library. She also had Pinterest boards for the locations she chose, which included Goa, Cancun, and Hawaii. My choices included London, Paris, and Rome. We showed each other our pictures, and made an agreement that by the end of one hour we would have settled on a place so that we could finally book all of our tickets and accommodations.
The first five minutes were the easiest, because we were both excited to share what we had found, and share our enthusiasm for the places we were interested in visiting the most. I let her speak first, which I think proved to be an effective tactic because it helped her feel like I was listening and genuinely interested in what she had to say. It also showed that I was not entering the discussion to be the dominant person, and wanted the communication to remain bi-lateral....
Although I did ask questions periodically, I made a point of not interrupting. When I found points of disagreement with her, I wrote down my objections instead of blurting them out. This was an effective tactic.
When she was finished showing me why Goa, Cancun, and Hawaii were the places that would offer the best possible month-long vacation, I started to show her my ideas. I told her that while beaches are nice, I did not want to feel like I was "just anywhere," which is why I said of the three places she selected, Goa would be the most interesting for me. Telling her this made her feel that I was open to new ideas. However, I wanted her also to know that I was more interested in arts and culture than the beach. I said that I would appreciate it if she could hear me out and understand why the three European capitals I had selected would make for a better vacation.
During the negotiation process, we talked about several core issues. These issues included cost, food, type of activities available, prior travel experiences, and "bucket list" desires. All three of the places she picked were on her bucket list, whereas she had already been to Paris. When she reminded me that she had been to Paris before, I briefly argued. I said that she always wanted to "show me around," and had bragged about how much she liked it. In response, she said that she was simply "not in the mood" to go right now.
I used this as an opportunity to discuss some of the problems I had with her choices. First, I noted that I did not want to go to Cancun at all and that staying in a resort was not my idea of fun. She seemed upset about this, but I told her that I was not that kind of tourist and wanted a cultural experience. I said I was okay with going to Mexico but that it would have to be Mexico City or somewhere interesting. In retrospect, I probably sounded a little snobby and derisive of her ideas. In the future, I would try to be less argumentative and get more to the point.
One of the points of negotiation was related…
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