Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Negotiating from a position of strength

I left a courthouse this morning after a completely unfruitful meeting. On the way into the parking garage I was greeted by one of the regular street guys. (I don't know whether he is homeless, but he hangs out in the area.) Normally this gentleman says, "Hey, what's happening?" and we go our separate ways. Today, though, was different.

As I approached he put his arms up in the air and greeted me like an old friend. Being the friendly guy I am, I stopped to chat.

"What's going on, fella?" I asked.

"Oh, man, just trying get me a little something to eat."

"Would you take two dollars?" I asked, as if I were obliged to give him anything at all.

"I'd take $20 but I know if I ask you won't give it to me, right?"

"Right. That's not going to happen," was my response with a smile.

"OK, two dollars will work."

"Here you go. Get some food."

"Thanks man, have a blessed day, brotha."

As I walked away I laughed at myself, not for giving him the money, but because I asked him if what I offered was sufficient. What kind of negotiating is that? In the business we call that "bargaining against yourself."

The exit from the parking garage took me right past my new friend's spot. I looked over to see him talking on a cell phone.

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