“I hate to negotiate,” some of my seminar participants tell me. “It makes me anxious, and I just don’t like horse-trading. What can I do?”

“Treat it like a game,” I tell them. “Don’t take it personally. And study it so you will be able to recognize what’s being done and why. Knowledge of the process will increase your comfort level and your ability to get what you want. Unless you’re isolated from all human contact, negotiation is a part of life. Like any life skill, you can improve it with understanding, knowledge, and practice.”

Make no mistake: Everyone can improve his or her negotiation skills. No negotiation presents exactly the same challenges, because an unlim­ited number of variables exist in every negotiation. So, each negotiation presents unique and challenging situations no matter what your level of experience or expertise: the parties may be different, the issues may vary, your mood that day may be good or bad, and the negotiation dynamic or conversation may ebb and flow in unexpected directions.

Recognizing your ability to negotiate is a skill which you can improve is an important step in the process of becoming a more efficient and effective negotiator.

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