It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Jim Thomas, author of “Negotiate to Win,” says when it comes to bargaining with each other that shouldn’t be a problem as long as we are willing to share at least some of our kibble. Thomas’s book, due out this fall, aims to give readers tips and hints on how to negotiate successfully in almost any situation. In a seemingly saturated market of similar books, this one stands out not only for its genuine usefulness but for it’s unique approach to the topic as well.
“Negotiate to Win” begins by explaining why good negotiating skills are a necessity, both personally and professionally. Haggling, says Thomas, is a part of nearly everything we do throughout the course of our lives so we might as well be good at it. Furthermore, as other nations become more accessible to us via technology and a “new globalism” sets in, we are increasingly likely to find ourselves in situations where negotiating is a necessity.
Next, Thomas presents commonly held misconceptions about the art of haggling and smashes them to bits. He summarily dismisses studies claming that the mere shape of a table or temperature of a room can impact the outcome of a negotiating situation. In fact, it was these prevailing misconceptions that prompted Thomas to write his book. While attempting to develop a brief synopsis on negotiating techniques many years ago, all he found was “theory, folklore, trivia, clichés and war stories” but no simple, straightforward answers. Thomas decided to use his 25 years of experience negotiating real estate, labor relations, mergers and acquisitions to develop a roadmap on how to reach a deal that people on both sides of a table can live with.
Instead of diving right into the heart of the matter, Thomas takes the time to educate the reader on why Americans find negotiating so uncomfortable while people in other countries seem to almost enjoy the process. In fact, Thomas asserts that Americans are perhaps the worst negotiators on the planet. While he acknowledges that there are several theories about why this is the case, there are no concrete conclusions. However, understanding that our anxieties exist and are perhaps culturally motivated is the first step towards overcoming negotia-phobia.