I read about a small town in Kansas that passed a law in 2003 requiring every household to have a gun. You read that right. Consistent with the Constitution, the municipality didn't permit people to possess their six-shooters and Berettas. It compelled them.

Of course, the question that's burning in your mind is, "Why?"

"To fight crime, " is the counter-intuitive rationale.

You've heard the notion, "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns," haven't you? Well, this ordinance says when everyone is locked-and-loaded bad guys will be very reluctant to draw their weapons, at least within city limits.

If they do, they'll be met with an equal, if not show-stopping counterforce.

I look at negotiation training in much the same way. Here are five reasons everyone should have it:

(1) It levels the playing field when it comes to skills and knowledge.

(2) It becomes very difficult for one party to exploit a ploy without being detected and corrected.

(3) It slows the arms race by taking the "nukes" of impulsiveness and impatience, out of the equation.

(4) It enables participants to focus on deal points instead of steal points.

(5) It teaches people that there are many ways to agree, if participants are civil.

When it becomes clear to both sides in a negotiation that they are savvy, many of the gimmicks, ploys, and dirty tricks are discouraged. This is helpful all around, because it reinforces the serious business purpose that is to be served through well-informed bargaining.

How did that law fare, the one requiring average townsfolk to strut like Wyatt Earp?

I don't think it was ever enforced--certainly not at gunpoint!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top speaker, negotiation consultant, attorney, TV and radio commentator and the best-selling author of 12 books. He conducts seminars and speaks at convention programs around the world. He can be reached at gary@customersatisfaction.com.

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