October 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts October 1999 Current Issue
October 1999

Dear Answer Lady,
I'm a skillful planner but a weak negotiator. The problem is I'm just too shy. How can I do a better job of getting what I want, at the price I want, from vendors?

Dear Sheepish,
If you tend to shrink from business-related conflict, the secret to holding your own with the louder mouths at the negotiating table is to become more persuasive, not simply more assertive. Have you ever met a person who obviously was overcompensating for shyness? Obnoxious, right? If you're not a fighter, don't fight. The personality traits that make you fun at parties can be employed during negotiations to great effect, and using them will make you more comfortable, confident and, hence, effective. When the job is making a vendor want to do things your way, somewhere in your toolbox of social skills is the right tool for the job. But try the fine-grit sandpaper before resorting to the claw hammer.
Yours in planning&
The Answer Lady

Got a work-related problem that requires attention from an expert or a friendly, disinterested third party? The Answer Lady is both. Write to Answer Lady, Meetings & Conventions, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094, or send e-mail to

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