There are many misperceptions about the process of negotiation. Often people associate it with labor union contracts. They envision picket lines and angry people shouting across the table at one another. It’s not surprising, therefore, that those in the arts sector might shudder at the thought of any association with it, i.e., nice guys don’t engage in such distasteful practices. But labor negotiation is just one of many types of negotiation situations.
We negotiate daily with nearly everyone we encounter, in business and in our personal lives. Procuring a donation from a wealthy patron is a negotiation; so is deciding whose turn it is to walk the dog. Because resources are so precious in the
arts sector, it’s critical to acquire good negotiation skills in order to stretch those resources as far as possible.
WHAT IS NEGOTIATION?
Simply put, negotiation is seeking agreement. We could all use more agreement in our lives, right?
William Ury, author of Getting to Yes, says negotiation is a discussion leading to
agreement or to the decision to walk away and pursue other alternatives. Another definition: Negotiation is the art of persuading someone to do something they don’t want to do. My personal favorite: it’s letting other people have it your way. However you define it, people are negotiating every day.
THE COMPETITIVE EDGE
Because of its universal applicability to work situations, many employers give preference to candidates with negotiation training. If you read my August 6 post, you saw the impressive results achieved by students in that negotiation class. If you are seeking employment in the arts sector or advancement in your current position, good negotiation skills can help your profile cut through the clutter.