Communication and negotiation are two ways of helping you get what you want, without fighting or arguing with your parents, family or friends or even at school with your teacher. If you communicate and negotiate well, you and the person you are negotiating with can come to a agreement without either of you feeling like you “gave in” or lost the argument.
What is Negotiation?
Negotiation is a skill we use in many areas of our lives.
The definition of negotiation is ‘To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement’
If you practise your negotiating skills, you will find that you get on better with people – and you may find that you get your own way more often!
Before you negotiate with someone, you need to think hard about what exactly it is that you want.
Then you need to decide the boundaries of how far you can compromise. How flexible can you be? The more flexible, the better the chance of a successful negotiation.
Finally you need to set aside a convenient time for both parties to discuss the matter.
Decide on Your Goal
How late would you like it? How would going to bed later affect you? Would it make it harder to do well at school or sport if you were getting less sleep? Or is it realistic and reasonable?
If it is reasonable, write down your arguments for making it later – maybe your friends all go later, you don’t fall asleep earlier anyway, or you need more time to read before sleep, or you wish to view a later TV programme.
Be Willing to Compromise
Now decide how you can compromise – would you accept 15 minutes later, or would it have to be an hour?
If you were allowed to go later, could you spend longer on homework or research, or practising a sport or instrument? Could you walk the dog for mum? Do the washing up on a Friday? There are many different ways to compromise when you negotiate.
Arrange a Discussion
When you are ready with your arguments, and are sure about how much you’d be prepared to compromise (and are sure that what you are requesting is reasonable and realistic), then ask your mum or dad for a meeting.
Say you need a quiet 10 minute talk. This is much better than asking when your parents are busy or distracted.
When they are listening; calmly go through your arguments and conclusions. Give them time to question further, and check their reactions.
If they are nodding and smiling – it looks good. If they are frowning and cross, maybe not. Stay calm. If you don’t get anywhere, find out the main arguments they have against what you want. Make a note of these if you can.
Thank them for listening, and ask if you could possibly talk about it again when the adult has had time to think about it. Use the time to come up with good responses to their arguments.
Repeat the process; until a compromise is reached. You will impress the adult with your mature and reasonable negotiating skills.
Of course, you can use this tactic for negotiating anything that you want to change in your life, not just for a later bedtime!