Lesson 3 - Negotiating

‘If you want a hamster, start out asking for a horse’

Quality Improvement Skills: negotiation, persuasion, influence

Children are skilled negotiators and most can twist their parents round their little finger. But there is more to it than a cute smile (although this helps a lot). They are intuitively manipulative negotiators who know how to play one parent against the other, use their emotions and push the right buttons. Children can also be extremely persistent negotiators. If they don’t immediately obtain what they want, they ask again and again, and don’t take no for an answer.

We can learn a lot from our children’s negotiation techniques. Quality improvement initiatives require leaders who can facilitate change through negotiation (Varkey et al 2008). Persuasive communication is a vital skill when we need the acceptance, trust or support of others to implement change. In order to promote participation and buy-in, QI leaders need to create a connection, build rapport, and sell the vision—all of which are part of effective negotiation.

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