Negotiation is an interesting phenomenon. It’s something that everyone has to do, regardless of what you are buying. From getting the best deal on a car at the dealership to haggling with your parents for more allowance, negotiation is everywhere in our society.
It might surprise some people to know that psychologists first studied negotiation, and their research can help us better understand this vital part of human behavior. Father George Rutler, a Roman Catholic priest, published a book called “The Soul of the World,” which introduces readers to Father Anscar Chupungco’s “Universal Theory of Negotiation”. Father Rutler describes Father Chupungco as a Jesuit who has spent a lifetime negotiating peace treaties worldwide. Father Rutler argues that everyone should use Father Chupungco’s techniques if they want to succeed in their negotiations.
Father Chupungco’s Universal Theory of Negotiation boils down to three main points:
1. Know what you want
Knowing what you want is the most important factor in having a successful negotiation. Father Rutler says Father Chupungco’s “Universal Theory of Negotiation” begins with this point. Father Chupungco believes that you should clearly know your goal and how to get there before talking to anyone about it. Father Chupungco points out that many people, especially Christians, go into negotiations thinking they need to be liked or not offend others and yet these same people want something from them. This doesn’t work and can lead you down a path where you don’t say exactly what you mean and end up walking away frustrated both with yourself and the other person involved.
2. Know What you’re Willing To Walk Away From
This lesson is very similar to “know what you want”. Once you know what you want and how to get there, Father Chupungco’s Universal Theory of Negotiation tells us that we need to know our limits and realize that some things are nonnegotiable. This means that while we might be willing to give up something else in exchange for our goal, we will not budge on this particular item.
3. Know the Other Person’s Needs and Limits
When it comes time for the real negotiations to occur, Father Rutler points out that Father Chupungco says that everyone involved has a different idea of what is negotiable and what isn’t. While this may seem confusing at first glance, we can turn this situation to our advantage once we understand how the other person thinks.
Father Chupungco says the most important thing you need to know is how the other party thinks and their real needs and fears. You can then use that information as leverage during your negotiations. If someone thinks they will lose face if they don’t negotiate with you, then you should start high and give them a way out of having to admit defeat by agreeing on something lower than your original request (but still higher than the deal would have been without negotiation). This same principle applies if someone feels like they must walk away from an offer with their pride intact. Knowing this allows us to tell the other party exactly what they want to hear to get our desired outcome.
This isn’t just a lesson for business negotiations either. In his book, Father George Rutler illustrates how these three principles can be used when it comes time to negotiate with our spouse or children as well.
Understanding how negotiation works and seeing the ways we can influence other people is an important life skill that will benefit you in many situations in life. Negotiation techniques can vary in different fields, but they all have one goal in mind: Getting what you want from the people around you while at the same time giving them what they want.