Have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you get very emotional?  Sometimes it’s because the deal means so much to you – perhaps the booking of a wedding venue – or maybe it gets very intense as tempers flair.  Whatever the circumstance it doesn’t ever help to let your emotions take over.

We recently had a new bathroom fitted, and it wasn’t until after that a few flaws were noticed in the work.  Lack of action and poor communication led to some mistakes by the installer and it ended up in a heated exchange of e-mails.  My husband was furious and ready to ‘take matters into his own hands”, which I suggested wouldn’t actually fix the faults.  He agreed but said it would at least make him feel better.  I was also very angry and upset, but I took over the e-mails, to try and get something sorted.

There was a deadlock in the supplier refusing to admit responsibility, so I had two choices.  First to continue the fight for ‘justice’, with no guarantee of any positive outcome.  Or second, to stop thinking like a victim of poor work and start to understand his point of view too.

It wasn’t easy, but I knew the second option was the only realistic one.  Instead of arguing about his lack of consultation and poor workmanship I took a different tack.  I suggested that we shared responsibility.  I agreed that I could have intervened earlier by overseeing things more and taking a more hands on approach, and suggested that he could have asked for more input and as the professional had a better insight to potential issues.  I suggested if he agreed to come back and fix all the finishes to my standard and move the sink to a better position, that I would pay for half of the extra work.

Suddenly his attitude changed on the e-mails.  He was happy to help, promising to fix everything to my requirements and agreed that he would foot half the bill for all the extra work.

He’s booked to come back next week.  He’s also thanked me for being honest and highlighting his shortfalls with communication and intends to take it on board for future clients.

Often, fighting leaves you with deadlock.  Sure, by digging in you might occasionally ‘WIN’, but mostly it gets you nowhere and leaves you angry.  Take a step back, stop taking it personally, and try to understand their position too.   I’m not suggesting caving in and taking their side, but try to be fair.  Take responsibility for your part and try to move forward to a place you can both be satisfied.

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