When SMing, it is definitely a good idea to learn how to negotiate before any potentially sticky situations arise. Making compromises between the designers, director(s), TD, and run crew is a difficult task, especially when the scenery is open-ended and can be arranged in many different ways (as it was in my experience). Everyone will likely want something different, but the trick is not to leave anyone totally disappointed with what you end up doing. Even at other times during the play process, negotiation is key--for example, solving problems between two disgruntled actors or wheedling props out of a skeptical outside source. So read a book, join the debate team, or do something that will help you develop a knack for compromises. I wish I had done something like this before the director and the assistant director/ASM/designer/director's son decided to have a battle about the scenic design using me/SM/designer in the middle on headset trying to continue running the rehearsal semi-smoothly, figure out a solution to the scenic problem and not get them to blow up at each other or me. ("Don't kill the messenger" was my motto for that day.) I guess we all learn from our mistakes, but I'd rather have not gone through that experience by being more prepared beforehand or something. The moral of the story is that to be SM you also need to be a good diplomat, unless you want to deal with major problems later on.