Negotiating with your kids

You need to get them to go to bed; to finish their meal; to tidy their room; to get their shoes and coats on; the list goes on. They pick up on the fact that you need them to do it – always when you are under a time pressure, and that is when they decide to assert their power and not cooperate. That is when the battle ensues. You know it will end in tears – and the children might even cry too! Sound familiar?

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Want to Win an Argument? No You Don’t.

Negotiating and arguing are different things. It’s also not the same as debating or selling. In all those other activities you are trying to change someone’s mind to some degree.

That is not the case with negotiation, and one of the first things that you need to get straight before you engage in a negotiation is what you are trying to influence the other party to do. You probably won’t get them to change their mind. But you need them to agree to something, and the easier you make this for them, the better.

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You may have already seen the video of me talking about anchoring, but it is such a key area of successful negotiation, that I want to give you a bit more detail here. Please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Anchoring – What Is It?

Anchoring is one of the most powerful concepts in negotiation. It is often the effectiveness of your anchoring (or that of your counter-part) which will determine the outcome of the negotiation.

Anchoring includes such behaviours as:

  • getting your price/proposal on the table first
  • reinforcing your position whenever possible
  • getting the other party to discuss your proposal
  • getting the other party to try and pull you from your position
  • moving from your position with reluctance
  • moving in relation to your last position, not theirs

Many people make the mistake of allowing or even inviting the other party to propose first in a negotiation. They do this so that they can then see how far they can move them from that position, and they feel satisfied when they do so. This is anchoring in evidence but in the other party’s favour.

Should I Ever Let Them Go First?

The only time you should want the other party to go first is if you think that either:

  1. they will make a mistake in your favour
  2. you will make a mistake in their favour

How often will option 1 happen? If they are experienced in the market or product in question, then it is unlikely.

Option 2 should never happen. You should have (or create) the time and inclination to research the market and make sure that you know what an appropriate opening position looks like.

Some Things To Remember When Anchoring

Anchoring does not mean rushing, or arguing in negotiation. Do not get drawn into talking about their proposal. You may ask them to justify it, to see what substance exists behind it, then you should reject it appropriately and return to your proposal.

Anchoring can be subtle or overt. You must decide on the circumstances of your negotiation as to how subtle your anchoring needs to be. Sometimes sending through your proposal in advance of the meeting can get the other party partially or fully anchored to your position at an earlier stage than normal.


In this video I will talk about the power of preconditioning; why most people underestimate it; the effect it has and how you can do it.

There are also a couple of examples of when it may have happened to you.

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Buying a House? This is Better Than A Pay Rise.

It’s probably the biggest purchase you’ll make in your private life. You will be tied to the deal for years. If you can save £20,000, that is equivalent to earning an extra £25,000 (if you pay 20% tax). You need to be able to negotiate well, the playing field is not level – they are using an estate agent whose job it is to negotiate on their behalf, and this is what they do day in, day out in this very area.

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