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For my first few years of life, I thought that when Mom said NO, she meant NO. There was seldom a reversal of a decision. It was useless to ask my dad, hoping that to keep the peace, he’d give in to a request. Nope. He was afraid of my mom too.

Eventually, I learned that I was making rookie negotiator’s mistake. Little did I suspect that there was more than one-way of asking.

I am the second of six-children and the first female. My “Big Brother” was 10 years older than I was. For a couple of years, as an adorable little girl, the answers to my requests were often YES.

That lucky streak ran out. The next four children arrived in our family, over the next 10-years. My requests were now met with a NO WAY! There’s not enough money to do that for all of you. My parents believed that their duty was to be financially fair to all the children.

The family budget was frequently stretched to the breaking point. There was enough for life’s basics, but little remained for extra treats, vacations or new clothes.

Early in life, I prepared a mental list of the Negotiation-Facts of Life.

  1. No Meant No.
  2. Money would be spent equally on each child.
  3. Whining never worked.
  4. Asking my dad did not fly in our house. Mom was the absolute authority and the decision maker.
  5. Team negotiations in which all of us ganged up against my parents came with negative consequences and sometimes in the form of a spanking.

Today, as the FearLess Negotiator the childhood Negotiation Facts of Life no longer apply.

I approach every negotiation with a new rulebook.

  1. No means no, not right now. Situations change. When new information is reported, new rules apply. No can switch to yes in the blink of an eye.
  2. People get the money they ask for. “If you Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.”
  3. Whining, crying and pleading works sometimes. However, use this technique judiciously.
  4. There is always a Higher Authority. Every business professional has a boss, even though bosses may be called shareholders, stakeholders or the Board of Directors.
  5. Team Negotiators are effective as long as the participants:
  6. Know their duties and responsibilities.
  7. Understand their individual strengths and why they have been invited to sit at the negotiation table.
  8. Sometimes, the team with the biggest number of players WINS!

I challenge each sales person, customer service representative, manager or business owner to reconsider their personal rules of negotiation. Do not be discouraged when you receive a NO. No is just a word that is constantly changing. No wants to be a YES when it grows up.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!