Discussion topic: Personal Negotiation

Collaboration CC(NC) by Laura Billings

For our next discussion topic we are going to look at personal negotiation skills.

From time to time we all need to compromise and negotiate to be productive and successful. When we asked ILN participants in January what their new years library resolutions were, many commented that they wanted to learn how to more productively say no, find a better work-life balance, and be better at avoiding overcommiting themselves. Negotiation skills are the key to achieving this goal.

Some questions that you might want to explore with your partner include:

  • What skills are required to be an effective negotiator? Which of those skills have you developed, and how?
  • Do you ever negotiate with yourself, by trying to find a balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do?
  • How do you decide what you can and can’t fit into your schedule?

Negotiating with yourself

Think about how you allow commitments into your life. Many of us fall into the trap of over commitment, and find it very difficult to say no. This can be driven by a fear of missing out.  Or perhaps this is a lesson that you have learnt, and you are aware of how much time and energy you can share and use it wisely – do you have any advice for others on how to achieve this? Here are articles from Zen Habits and Lifehacker on the topic of saying no effectively. What do you think about those articles?

The idea of work-life balance describes the struggle we all go through to give full commitment to both our working and personal lives. How do you find balance in your life? Here is an interesting article in Library Leadership & Management on work-life balance in libraries, including an overview of different approaches to the idea. And from Web MD, some tips for a better work life balance. Do you think it is possible to gain work-life balance? What does your partner think about this topic?

Negotiating with your ILN partner

You and your ILN partner have joined this program for various reasons but have you taken time to discuss how your partnership will work? Here are a few ideas of things you might need to discuss with your partner:

  • How can you communicate with your partner? Email is standard, but some participants also use social media or video conferencing – a Skype call can go a long way towards building your professional relationship.
  • Do you have a busy time at work or a holiday coming up? If you do, make sure you let your partner know. It not only manages their expectations but also could give you a topic to discuss (we all love to talk about travel!)
  • Discuss with your partner what you might do if life gets in the way. We are all busy people and things can change very quickly. How will you handle it if your situation changes in the coming months?

Negotiation skills

So what are the skills needed to be an adept negotiator? This article from the Queensland Government in Australia describes good negotiators as:

  • flexible
  • creative
  • aware of themselves and others
  • good planners
  • honest
  • win-win oriented
  • good communicators

What do you think of this description? Are they skills that you associate with negotiation? Is negotiation something you are comfortable with or do you shy away from it?

Remember that you can take these discussions beyond your partnership by sharing your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages – just remember to use the hashtag #interlibnet. Keep an eye on our Twitter Chats page to check when our next live Twitter Chat is scheduled, and have a bigger conversation with ILN participants!

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