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The Negotiation Olympics

Jared Bamford
The Negotiation Olympics

Welcome to the Negotiation Olympics, where the negotiating skill of elite athletes meets the optimism of a 1960s study! Strap on your negotiation shoes and get ready for a journey through the parallels between negotiating and elite sportsmanship. 


Negotiation Warm-up: Research Like a Champ 

Just as athletes study their opponents’ game tapes, negotiators must do their preparation. Imagine negotiating without being clear on what success looks like—like a sprinter running blindfolded!  


Lesson 1: Channel Your Inner Optimist 

According to a 1960 study by Siegel and Fouraker, more optimistic negotiators strike better deals. It’s like they’ve got a secret stash of lucky rabbit’s feet hidden in their negotiation briefcases! So, if you’re feeling pessimistic, it can be like settling for the bronze medal when you could have obtained gold! 


Lesson 2: Train Hard, Negotiate Harder 

Elite athletes didn’t wake up one day and magically dunk basketballs or score goals—they trained, sweated, and cried buckets of tears (okay, maybe not buckets, but you get the idea). Negotiators, take note: just like athletes, you’ve got to practice, practice, practice! Negotiation drills, anyone? Maybe negotiate your way out of doing the dishes—trust me, it’ll come in handy. 


Lesson 3: Master the Art of Emotional Regulation 

In negotiation, emotions can be as unpredictable as a game of dodgeball. That’s why it’s crucial to master the skill of emotional regulation—think of it as your negotiation superpower! Elite athletes don’t let their emotions run wild on the field, and neither should negotiators. So, when tensions rise or tempers flare, take a deep breath, count to ten, or envision yourself lounging on a tropical beach (hey, whatever works!). By keeping a cool head and a steady heart rate, you’ll navigate negotiations like a seasoned pro.   


Lesson 4: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work 

Athletes know the power of teamwork—just ask any relay runner or synchronized swimmer. Negotiators, take heed: you’re not in this alone! Sometimes you need a negotiating buddy to tag-team those tough deals.  


The Negotiation Finish Line: Seal the Deal and Celebrate! 

Congratulations, negotiators! You’ve sprinted, jumped, and negotiated your way to success. Whether you’re striking a multimillion-dollar business deal or convincing your kid to eat their broccoli, remember the lessons of elite athletes: optimism, preparation, emotional regulation, and teamwork. So, put on your negotiation jersey, lace up your negotiation cleats, and go for the negotiation gold! 


Happy negotiating! 


Ready to up your negotiation skills? Check out our flagship Advancing Negotiation Skills program here 

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