Steps for an Effective Negotiation: Asking for Suggestions

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In the event that your request is not granted immediately, the next step is to ask for, or make, a suggestion. You will need to use this skill only if the staff person doesn’t want to give you the accommodation you initially requested or if for some reason it is unavailable. Although this is unlikely, it is important to know what to do next if this happens.

Asking for suggestions is a skill that you will need if your initial request for an accommodation was not accepted. Asking for suggestions consists of two steps:

  1. Asking for or Making an Alternative Suggestion if the initial request was not accepted.
  2. Analyzing the feasibility of the alternative suggestion.

Step One: Making an Alternative Suggestion

The first step in asking for suggestions is to bring up an alternative idea or make an alternative accommodations request. This may be done in two ways:

  • You could present your own alternative idea to the university staff person. In other words, you can suggest your own “Plan B” idea about a different accommodation you think might work okay.
  • If you cannot think of a possible alternative idea, you can ask the university staff member for suggestions that will help solve your challenge.

For Example:

  • “I’d appreciate your help finding other alternatives. What would you do in my situation?”
  • “What could be another idea to help me with my experiments?”
  • “If it is not possible to take my exams in another classroom, would it be possible to get extended time on my exams?”

This step is important because:

  • Asking for or making an alternative suggestion can encourage the university staff member to see the situation from your point of view and open them up to the possibility of helping you.
  • Or, if you ask them for ideas about other accommodations, they might be able to remember other alternative accommodations that have worked for other students with similar disabilities.

Step Two: Analyzing the Feasibility of the Suggestion

  • After asking for an alternative suggestion you should analyze the feasibility of the staff member’s suggestion. When analyzing the feasibility of the suggestions, you must:
  • Say something about how the idea or suggestion will (or won’t) work for you.
  • Say why the idea will (or won’t) work.
  • When analyzing the feasibility of the suggestion it is important that you ask yourself three questions:
  • Is the suggestion practical?
  • Will it help you?

For Example:

  • “That sounds like a good idea to place the small bottles of chemicals on the table so they can be within my reach.”
  • “That’s a good idea. If the article can be scanned and transferred to Microsoft Word, my computer can read them and I can keep up with the rest of the class.”
  • “That sounds like a reasonable idea because I’ll be able to complete my exams and be as thorough as possible.”

Analyzing the feasibility of the suggestion is important for two reasons:

  • It shows the staff member that you are open to other potential accommodations.
  • It also shows that you are willing to stand by the accommodations you feel will best help you succeed.