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Clerk helping shopper in grocery store
The people at your local grocery store are full of great product advice and may know about special sales. / Jon Feingersh / Getty Images

Negotiation lies beneath every human interaction, says Stuart Diamond, Wharton Business School professor and author of Getting More.

“Negotiation should not be a dance, or a fencing match or a game,” he says. “It’s just a conversation. You don’t have to give anything up by just talking to someone.”

In your local grocery store, for example, Diamond recommends connecting with the people who work there. Asking their advice and getting on a first-name basis can lead to hearing about special sales.

When dealing with a difficult situation, such as talking with a cable representative on the phone, hold back your frustration and recognize the person.

“If I can, I want to get involved in a conversation: ‘What’s your name? Where are you located?’” he says. “People on the other end of the line are so shell-shocked from being beaten up all day by customers, you’re like a breath of fresh air.”

Discuss your goals for the phone call and ask the representative if they can help or refer you to someone else. Refrain from blaming them —for the issue, since it most likely isn’t their fault —and be appreciative of their advice, Diamond says.

View yourself as the least important person, Diamond advises. That way, you can better perceive the needs of others and learn how to reach your own goals by satisfying their desires. Getting into the habit of valuing people’s perceptions can make you a better negotiator in time, he says.

“When you make a human connection with somebody, they’re almost more than six times as likely to give you what you want.”

“Negotiation should not be a dance, or a fencing match or a game,” according to Diamond. “It’s just a conversation. You don’t have to give anything up by just talking to someone.”

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