REST Before You Negotiate, Written by Phil Ventresca, M.B.A.

In any type of communication, the application of Respect, Empathy, Sincerity, and Trust (REST) is a good foundation to build upon. However, in the art of negotiation, it can be the deal maker or breaker.  A “good” negotiator can move the needle by leverage, persuasion, and influence.  A “great” negotiator builds an environment in which each party feels comfortable and is willing to work within the realm of transparency.  It is within this environment that the focus is taken away from the win or lose mentality and shifts toward collaboration and the accomplishment of a mutually beneficial goal.  This disposition will squelch the essence of ego, righteousness, and manipulation, whilst replacing it with authenticity, shared purpose, and stewardship:

Respect – is always earned and never demanded.  Build respect in your negotiation by doing your homework and showing the opposing party that you care about all aspects of the outcome and share a common interest in the resolve.  This approach will introduce an emotional, yet controllable and measured aspect of caring.

Empathy – fosters the human element and elicits a sense of authenticity between people. Be empathetic in all forms of communication to establish a baseline of caring, compassion, and shared emotion rather than a “mine vs. yours mentality.”  This approach will diffuse the power conundrum.

Sincerity – cements the foundation of respect and empathy by illuminating that you are genuinely invested in both the process, and outcome.  Be sincere in all aspects of life and people will tend to acknowledge that with engagement, which is always the first step toward a productive conversastion.  This approach tends to mitigate the tendency people have to expend energy on questioning your intentions, and instead, advances the initial interaction toward collaboration more quickly.

Trust – is the byproduct of the above and thus completes a progressive cycle. Building trust is actually your first milestone in negotiation and one that is skipped over many times due to an assumed shared vision or cause. (Common when you know the other party or work in the same company).  A foundation of trust opens the door for collaboration, transparency, and stewardship by removing the ego and replacing it with shared vision.

REST is a tool, technique, or better yet, a way of being. The best negotiators embody the above “being” throughout all communications, leadership style, and interactions they have.  Thus, it could be concluded that good negotiators are excellent communicators and that they are always honing their craft. Regardless of how you apply REST or in what environment, the outcome will always be weighted to your side because people tend to respond to authenticity and the human element.

A few considerations to help you build a good negotiations tool box using REST:

  • Do your homework
  • Be authentic
  • Stay engaged and focused on the common goals
  • Control the ego and become a steward

Many times the best negotiators claim, they do not negotiate.  There is truth to that because in life, communication, and human interaction always has a weight discrepancy. Recognizing this reality forces you into an understanding that everything we do could be seen as a negotiation. Thus the productive communicator is always seeking collaboration, common ground, and understanding.  This presence will bolster your abilty to communicate and successfully negotiate in all aspects of your life.