There are many reasons why we fall in love with cats. They are cute, keep us company (when we feed them of course) and help us improve our psychological health by reducing our stress levels. According to an Australian study aimed at determining the psychological health of cat owners, adopting a cat made respondents feel happier, more confident, less nervous and have an overall better quality of life. Another study found that cat owners are more caring, socially sensitive and are more trusting of other people. But are they better in business in general and negotiations in particular? Well, it may seem a bit strange to associate negotiation skills with cats but cat owners know that they need to negotiate on a daily basis for things like a quiet night of interrupted sleep, cuddles and more.
Although there are no definitive studies that have tried to establish a correlation between business performance and cat ownership, we decided to dig deep into some personality traits that can give us a clue as to why owning a cat may give you an edge in business.
Good at detecting clues
Detecting body language and other non-verbal cues during negotiations can be the difference between winning and losing a deal. Cat owners have an edge in negotiations simply due to the fact that they spend hours a day observing their cats and trying to figure out whether they are happy, sad, in the mood to play etc. That is a free negotiation course. From short and mid-pitch meows to the purr and hiss, cats have their own communication system to communicate with their owners who in turn have a long list of sounds and gestures to memorise. Although it is tricky to understand at first, cat owners often find a way to associate certain gestures with certain requests and get proficient in detecting non-verbal cues. For example, a vibrating tail is a sign of excitement and happiness while ears back is a sign of fear and anxiety. If you can differentiate between different types of meows or tell the mood of your cat by just looking at its tail then understanding people behaviour is a piece of cake.
Great at communication and persuasion
One of the most important skills to be a good negotiator is the ability to communicate, get your point across and persuade people. And what better way to practice communication and persuasion techniques than by barking orders at a cat who does not care. By closely observing their cats’ behaviour, cat owners may be able to talk back, negotiate and get what they want (on rare occasions). For example, the use of a lower tone of voice may indicate displeasure to your cat, while blinking slowly may get you a cuddle, and giving up treats for specific moves like a high five may make your cat an Instagram sensation.
This close attention to detail, ability to adapt their narratives and more importantly lots of patience make cat owners great at negotiation.
Compromises are a basic principle of negotiation. More often than not, if two parties are involved in a negotiation, they tend to give up something they have and want for something else of higher value. Compromises are a common theme in households with cats. If you want a good night’s sleep then you have to give up half your bed to the cat otherwise it will meow for the whole night. Habitually making smart compromises can give you the edge in business negotiations and help you to make great deals.
Practise, practise, practise
Practise makes perfect. To be fully proficient in negotiations, it is important to practise your pitch and different techniques by trying mock negotiations with colleagues, friends or ideally your cat. Good preparation includes identifying a clear goal (get my cat to stop running around the house at 2am), setting compromises (give up half my bed), laying down unacceptable terms (I will not give away more treats), understand potential objections and possible outcomes (a straight refusal to cooperate or a quiet night). These small negotiation sessions with little stubborn creatures give cat owners the much needed experience and patience to deal with stubborn people in real life.
So there you have it. The main reasons that make cat owners great at negotiation. To finish the article in style, here is a video of an extremely obedient cat. Enjoy.