It can be difficult negotiating with a spouse or other family members because you will still live in the same house after the negotiations are over. A certain amount of sensitivity and decorum are needed. Here are some rules that will help you successfully negotiate with your spouse.
1. Request Ground Rules.
If previous discussions have been ugly, you may want to suggest some simple ground rules to make the process go more smoothly. For example, such basic things as a) no yelling, b) no interruptions, c) no sarcasm, d) no profanity and e) a willingness to compromise may set the stage for real negotiations.
2. Know What You Want And Anticipate What Your Spouse Wants.
Know in advance what it is you want from the negotiations. If you are discussing vacation plans, do your research in advance. Try to anticipate what your spouse wants so you can suggest something both parties can approve. For example once the destination is confirmed, each party could plan a day of activities. You can balance your love of art museums with your husband’s love of sports.
3. Look Forward Not Back
The past is called the past for a reason. If you are negotiating something that you have already hashed and rehashed, don’t bring in what happened last year or last month. Focus on what you are going to do today to resolve the problem. If you get mired into the same discussions, try to suggest something new or suggest something on a trial basis to see if it can work.
4. Focus On The Goal; Don’t Be Distracted By Emotions.
Dealing with a problem with your spouse or ex-spouse can be very emotional. It is important to come into the negotiation with a neutral point of view. If you are angry or hurt by something your spouse has said or done, it will be almost impossible to focus on your goals for the negotiation. If you check your emotions at the door, you will be surprised what you can accomplish.
5. Watch The Other Side’s Body Language.
Since you live with this person, you should be able to recognize his/her body language. Use this to your advantage. If you see that vein in his forehead throbbing, it might not be the best time to bring up something controversial. If she is strumming her fingers on the table and is impatient, maybe it is time to try to wrap things up.
6. Don’t Gloat.
If you get something you want, don’t gloat. There is nothing worse than seeing a spouse or even worse an ex-spouse smirk or gloat. The other side will only want to retaliate. You need to go through any negotiation with a poker face and save any celebration for when you are alone.
If you follow these rules, you will be able to negotiate with your spouse like a Pro.