Shirley Sherrod Discovered Race Definitely Matters When Negotiating and You’re Always Negotiating

Shirley Sherrod was caught in a racial firestorm, partially because she’s Black, and partially because race relations are exploited by some people in the U.S. when negotiating. In the case of Shirley Sherrod, she was an innocent bystander, slandered.

Twenty-four years ago, Shirley Sherrod’s job was to assist farmers in securing services that would lead to avoiding foreclosure on their farms. During that time, Shirley Sherrod made a presentation to an organization. In her presentation, she related a story of her encounter with a particular white farmer that was condescending to her. She stated, initially she was not going to lend her ‘full’ effort to assisting this farmer, but after reflecting upon her negative thoughts, she decided to assist him with her full support, anyway. She did so, because she realized the need for assistance comes in all colors and in all ethnicities. Moreover, she reflected, it was the right thing to do.

That was the message she conveyed to the audience. What Shirley Sherrod didn’t count on was the fact that her information and eventual good thoughts and name would be turned against her, twenty-four years after she made her presentation. She forgot, “you’re always negotiating’.

Shirley Sherrod’s character was one of assisting her fellow man. When you understand someone’s character, you can negotiate with them based on their character. By understanding their character, you have an understanding as to how they’re likely to react in certain situations. In Shirley Sherrod’s situation, once her character was explored, it was discovered that she’d worked ceaselessly to assist people of all ethnicities.

Had the rush to judge Shirley Sherrod not been done in such haste, by everyone involved (White House, NAACP, U.S. Agriculture Department, the U.S. Media), not to say anything about those that initiated the victimization, it would have been discovered that she possessed a low likelihood of committing such accused acts.

What ‘teachable moments’ are rooted in this situation?

1. Never be too quick to accept information as pure fact and acting upon it, without proper vetting.

2. If you’re quick to ‘rush to judgment’ and you’re later proven to be wrong, be ‘big enough’ to admit your mistake sooner than later, and apologize quickly, to the person, or those that you’ve impugned.

3. With reverse racism being such a ‘touchy point’ of contention for some people in the U.S., there’s a faction in the country that will seek to exploit race, anytime they have the opportunity. When you negotiate, be aware of this fact.

4. Anyone can be portrayed as a ‘Shirley Sherrod’. Therefore, no matter where you are and what you do, even when you don’t consider yourself as such, remember, you’re always negotiating.

Where race relations are concerned in negotiations, there’ll be many ‘teachable moments’, from which to learn. As you encounter negotiation situations in life, related to race, take note and learn from them. In so doing, you’ll find that you’ll become more knowledgeable and informed about the way others think… and everything will be right with the world. Always remember, you’re always negotiating.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

· No matter what your vocation, you’re always selling and marketing yourself. In so doing, when negotiating, understand the environment you’re in and the manner in which others might process information about you. Consider the role race may play in their decision making process.

· Even when people within one race negotiate with others of the same race, race matters. It matters, because there’ll be segments in the race that distinguish itself from other segments and thus will react differently to different thoughts, suggestions, and ideas. So, in order to achieve successful outcomes to negotiations, you have to understand the source of motivation required to ‘move that person to action’. Don’t assume he’s like everyone else in the race and apply a broad stroke to him in applying your negotiation strategies and tactics.

· When negotiating, don’t be too quick to judge someone when exploring accounts of their past behavior, good or bad. Gather the appropriate information, consider the source of the information and vet the information before attempting to provide solutions to correct it. Don’t be made to appear foolish due to haste.

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3 Essential Rules For Successful Negotiating

Do you realize that we engage in some form or negotiation every day of our lives? Surprised? Think about it! Did you have to convince your kids to do their home work last night and get ready for school this morning? Did you discuss with your spouse who was going to make dinner tonight? Did you set completion goals for a new project at work? Did you talk with a disgruntled customer or employee today? How did it go? Did you achieve the results you desired?

These are all examples where a learned process of positive negotiation would be helpful. I was surprised the first time this was pointed out to me. I always thought of negotiation as a formal affair between high-powered professionals beating each other up to get what they wanted. That is a misconception held by many people. Every aspect of your life can be simplified just by understanding and implementing the essential elements of negotiation.

Here you will learn some of the essential negotiation elements to use when you are faced with situations that could become difficult if they’re not handled correctly.

1. Communicate Clearly

This is the most important element on the list. Your communication is the primary tool you have to express your thoughts, opinions and desires. If you don’t communicate effectively you will lose a critical advantage in your negotiations.

Also remember that speech is not the only form of communication. Your actions and body language, although silent, speak volumes. Make sure you are aware of how you are perceived by someone watching you. Your silent communications may be sending out a message entirely different from your intentions. A good way to identify this is to video tape yourself while speaking or during a meeting. You can also watch yourself in a mirror as you practice discussing the issues at hand.

2. Know your goals

Just like any project you start, it is important to know what your intended outcome or goals are at the end. Take some time before negotiating and decide what you want to achieve at the end of the negotiation. Additionally, think about what you are willing to give up to reach those goals. It is important to know your bottom line before the negotiation begins.

As you are making these decisions, remember your goals must be realistic. Stand in the other party’s shoes and think about whether your goals or requirements are something you could live with. If not, you must reassess your goals to be in line with what is realistic for you to achieve any success in your negotiation.

3. Treat everyone involved with respect.

Being the bully during a negotiation will not gain you any points. As soon as you start attacking the other parties, their defenses will go up and your chances of successful communication have been dashed. Instead, treat everyone involved with respect when addressing them, listen to what they are saying and take their situation into consideration.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should cave when someone doesn’t agree with you. It simply means that the goal is for everyone involved to act in a civilized and productive manner. Stand your ground, but do so without antagonizing the other parties involved. Now that you have read these rules, take some time to consider your past negotiations. Have you been breaking any of these rules? How can you make changes to your current negotiation style to improve your results?

To your success,

Swanie Brandt

What Makes a Successful Business Negotiator?

GETTING TO YES…

Two people are engaged in a negotiation – one achieves his/her objective(s) and is pleased, whilst the other walks away disappointed with the outcome.

How often have you felt dissatisfied with an agreement that you have reached? Have you ever entered into an agreement only to feel remorse soon after sealing the deal?

SUCCESS VS FAILURE

What then distinguishes success vs failure in business negotiations? Do we ascribe our business negotiation success to the characteristics & personality traits that we were born with, or are there conscious developmental actions that we can take to improve our negotiated outcomes? Many of us find ourselves in positions where we have to negotiate professionally on a daily basis. Most of us recognise the importance of preparation to achieve success in almost anything we do.

It is therefore quite interesting to note that the majority of business negotiators do not spend adequate time preparing for negotiations. It is a well established fact that professional sports people spend significantly more time preparing for competition than they spend in competition. Should it be any different for business negotiators?

THE EVIDENCE

Research conducted by The Negotiation Academy has found that from a group of 430 business negotiators surveyed, the average time spent in preparation as a ratio against time spent in actual negotiations amounts to an average of 35%. In other words, business negotiators only spend approximately 1/3 as much time preparing for negotiation as they actually spend in negotiation.

Let us add some perspective to this startling statistic. If you were a professional sports person, this would mean that you spent only 1/3 as much time training & preparing as you do competing. Small wonder then that so many people are disappointed with their negotiated outcomes. It follows that the number 1 contributor to successful business negotiation outcomes is the quality of our preparation for the negotiation.

The Top 5 Components of Preparation:

1. Understand Yourself

Before we even begin to understand and apply best- and leading practice negotiation, it is imperative that we first invest in understanding ourselves. Any professional sports person will tell you that the cornerstone of improvement is gaining an understanding of your own strengths & weaknesses. The idea is to optimise your strengths and find ways to minimise the impact of weaknesses. In negotiation, it is important that we make use of personal profiling tools, such as the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, to highlight our areas of preference within the context of negotiations. This is like the golfer being videotaped with a view to having his or her swing analysed. It enables us to have a reference point from which to plot our skills development.

2. Vision

What is the vision or ultimate goal behind the negotiation? Is your negotiation really about price or is it about the value that can be derived/added? What are the main motivating factors behind your counterparty’s position in the negotiation? What common ground, if any, exists between your vision and your counterparty’s vision? It is important to understand the drivers or silent motivations behind the positions of all parties to the negotiation. It is only by asking questions that we will uncover the real motivations behind these positions assumed by our counterparties.

3. Value

What are the key deal objectives being pursued in this negotiation? What are the facts and figures supporting the negotiation environment? What alternatives does each party have, if any? Once again we should try to identify, prioritise & weigh the objectives of all parties to the negotiation. Once this has been achieved, we are in a position to highlight those objectives that are shared and at the same time, we can prepare ourselves to deal with those objectives that are likely to cause conflict.

4. Process

Have you spent time thinking about an agenda for your upcoming negotiation? Will you note all the concessions that you will give & receive? Will you ensure that the negotiation is minuted? Do you have tools/templates at your disposal to support the effectiveness and efficiency of the negotiation cycle in its entirety? It is important to ensure that you are well organised for your upcoming negotiation. Write down the key questions that you need to ask during the negotiation, lest you get sidetracked and forget to extract critical information.

5. Relationship

Never forget that we all negotiate with people. It is easy to forget that we deal with individuals who have goals & aspirations not unlike our own goals & aspirations. It is not always just about the facts & figures. The research is clear that people are more likely to deal with those whom they trust & like, than those with whom they have no rapport or share no similarities with. Try to focus on those elements that you share with your negotiation counterparties, and do not forget to focus on the human elements – all of which constitute the Climate of the negotiation.

The clear answer to what makes a successful business negotiator is…..preparation, preparation, preparation.

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