Saturday, July 10, 2010

teaching kids how to negotiate

Negotiation is not only a great skill to have but it is highly valued in society at large. Awards have even been given for this amazing skill!

Attributes of a great negotiator:
Know what you want, and what you would be prepared to accept
Be open
Listen, seek to understand, then seek to be understood
Seek win-win
Keep positive
Keep respect
Keep calm
Use reason and logic, not dogma
Look for shared goals

With that in mind we have a great activity for kids that can help sharpen their skills. The idea is to present a group with a set of choices about a fictitious birthday party. Kids must come to an agreement about what to eat for lunch, what activity to engage in, and what sort of birthday cake to have.
The Set Up: Before you play, make cards; one set for each participant. Each set should be identical, and it should include the following...
Materials Needed:
• Cards depicting several different choices of lunch food, including some quirky options (e.g., cards for “pizza,” “peanut butter and jelly,” “noodle soup,” “fish pancakes”).

• Cards depicting several choices of activity (e.g., “roller skating,” “visiting a science museum,” “going to the beach,” “mountain climbing”)

• Cards depicting several different kinds of birthday cake (e.g., “chocolate cake with vanilla frosting,” “yellow cake with chocolate frosting,” “white cake with vanilla frosting,” “carrot cake with cream cheese frosting).

To play, each kid looks over the cards and identifies his favorite and least favorite options. Then kids can try to see what they agree on. Can they negotiate an agreement? Help kids understand the nature of compromise: They might not be able to agree on their favorites. But maybe they can arrive at an acceptable plan by eliminating options that people really dislike.


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