The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 31, 2014

The art of negotiating

The art of the negotiation takes years to master.

Whether seeking a small salary hike or closing a multi-million dollar deal, negotiating is a game of chess that requires guts and great timing.

My negotiating skills aren’t necessarily that great, but with my daughter’s help, I may be able to close that deal on persuading my wife to buy ice cream whenever she’s at the store.

My 3-year-old is doing everything in her power to showcase her budding negotiating skills. Nothing deters her — not even the law of numbers.

Her negotiating usually starts off slow, like her attempt at persuading me to give her chocolate.

“OK, OK, OK, OK,” she says, gearing up to put out a great deal that I can’t deny. “I’ll take a piece of chocolate and you can have one.”

That’s a wonderful gesture, but at 4:30 p.m., it’s much too close to dinner time for candy to be dished out.

“OK, OK, OK, OK,” she says in rebuttal, obviously not ready to concede. “How about I take two pieces of chocolate?”

Hmmm…if I deny her having one piece of candy, why would she think I would give her two?

She then bats her eyes and pulls out the ultimate closer of “sweet, innocent daughter” look, and I cave, but only to her original demand. And that’s what makes her a genius. The best negotiators provide a number so high that the original demand sounds good.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever pulled off the “sweet, innocent daughter” look, and at this age, I doubt I could deliver on that negotiating ploy.

But her constant negotiating on everything, from increased bath time to shutting off the light at night, has given me more opportunities to improve my poker face at the negotiating table.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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