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Negotiation: The Unspoken Lingua Franca

Negotiation is an unspoken Lingua Franca that is shaping this world. You cannot run away from it no matter how much you try.

I like to think of Life as a nice smoothie of predictable moments sweetened by the gut-wrenching unpredictable moments that max out your heart speedometer.  Just when you think you have conquered the final level and can now reign in wisdom over your Kingdom, Surprise! New level unlocked and you go to battle all over again. I am recently learning that the subsections of our lives can sometimes be both a parallel and a reflection of one another at the same time. For example, the simple act of negotiation. It seems like something reserved for just the business world or the economic market place. You read all the books and articles addressing the art of negotiation and how to broker that billion dollar deal without breaking a sweat. But I am learning that sometimes, life is teaching you in real time exactly what some of those books are trying to tell you but we are just not paying attention.

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As a mom, wife, and business owner, you learn that life is just a microcosm of negotiations spread across different pockets and the outcome of one most times greatly influences the results of another. Even your friendships are negotiations. How much of a friend’s character traits you address or ignore per time? – Accept my nonchalance and we wont address your narcissism. Your diet plan is a lifelong negotiation – 5 days of greens for 5 minutes of sugary, cream-based dairy, and all its relatives. Time management is the biggest negotiation of all – Work an extra 2 hours borrowed from my sleep time just so I can watch 30 minutes of my favorite sitcom (Absolutely worth it!… Most times). Nobody ever tells you one of the major languages of life is Negotiation’. 

As a businesswoman, your negotiation skills need to be top-notch. If you cannot negotiate, I strongly advise you either hire or partner with someone who can (while you develop your negotiation skills) if not, your business would be buried in a coffin you built and sealed with terrible deals negotiated by you. The good thing about bad negotiation in business is you see the effects almost immediately and you are allowed to walk away from a bad business deal. Will there be consequences? As with all actions, YES – sometimes it will come dressed in legal garb, other times, its your pretty reputation that gets a black eye.  

If only it were that simple on the Mom front. With kids, your negotiation skills needs a healthy backing of emotional intelligence and thinking forward on how the results of this would affect future interactions, character traits and the all round development of your child. Unlike with business deals where you get your results in real time, with kids, its a series of small negotiations building into long term investments where the ROI can only be seen years down the line. You wonder why your kid does not understand the concept of No at 25 and you stroll down memory lane and remember the first deal that was brokered between you and your child at the tender age of 2. The child presented his offer, I want a cookie, you gave your response to the offer, No, youve already had 3, your child gives you a counter offer – tears. You give your counter, counter offer – NO, the child gives the counter, counter, counter offer – Tears amplified by 5.1 surround sound internal speakers. The heat is on. You stand your ground. Both parties are unwilling to cave. Until, you start to wonder… How can something so tiny make this much noise? Before you know it, the tears are pulling at your heartstrings, the noise is giving you a headache. All this because of a cookie? Its just one more, cant hurt. Here, take the cookie. After all, Its just a cookie. Deal sealed, Cookie in hand, the child goes away with a pattern and a new knowledge – Drama seals the deal and No is only a precursor to getting what I want. Now I am sure the next question would be, So whats the best way to negotiate with your child and get them to understand and accept the word NO. Whenever you find out, please let me know because I am still currently testing out theories.

However, my takeaway from my daily life negotiations across all spheres so far has been:

Negotiation is an unspoken Lingua Franca that is shaping this world. You cannot run away from it no matter how much you try. You will meet it some way somehow and you will engage whether you are willing to or not.

Delegation is great but some negotiations are specific to you and no other person. So better shake away your phobia and hatred for negotiation and make sure you get the best deal you can for you and your loved ones.

Never apply a general formula for all your negotiations. Each negotiation is unique to the person, the deal being brokered and the desired results so build up your emotional intelligence and your power of perception alongside your negotiation skills.

When you find yourself in a badly negotiated business deal, its okay to walk away if re-negotiation isnt an option. If walking away would save your business from an early grave, it is better to be alive and healing than dead and done.   

There’s an African proverb I love and it goes thus – Until the lion can tell his own story, every tale will glorify the hunter’.

I have a strong desire to be able to tell African stories. There is a current explosion in the Nigerian film-making industry, and in Africa as a whole, and I see this as a marvelous platform to showcase our rich heritage to the global world by telling the original stories that define and describe us.

TigerFireRose is the Chief Executive Officer of TigerFireRose Media. She has cut her teeth in the Visual Content Production industry, having spent time learning and running projects for various production houses commissioned by Africa Magic.  Her versatility and creativity has taken her swiftly across the media space, rising in ranks and positions in a short amount of time from Content writer, to Associate Producer, to Production Manager and eventually, Executive Producing her own content.  She is a born leader who inspires her team to be all they can be, no holds barred!  

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