How To Have Successful Negotiations

How To Have Successful Negotiations

Negotiation is all about the art of compromise: it is seldom a good idea to be in a situation where you win to such an extent that the other party feels like they have got nothing from the process. To use a phrase from management/union negotiations from the 1970’s you have to give the other side the bus fare home!

Win-lose positions are not for the medium and not for the long-term as this breeds resentment, distrust, hardens attitudes and creates a barrier in perception that can last for many years

Delivering a Win-Win negotiation delivers so much more than the l=immediate satisfaction of victory which lingers in the mind for a very short period.

To achieve Win-Win requires the following to happen:

  1. Separate the people from the problem: keep a focus on the matter at hand and ignore the complex personalities that are involved in the debate. This eliminates a potential source of conflict immediately.
  2. Focus on the underlying interests and ignore the current demands from the other side: demands are for the here and now, BUT it is the underlying and long-standing issues that really provide the cement in any agreements made. Find out WHY the other side are keen on their point of view and then use this to shape your argument/counter offer. Aiming for a solution that both sides want is the key to success.
  3. Listen and ask questions: listen first and then ask questions later. (The old saying that you have two ears and one mouth should always be in your mind). This way you learn much about the other side and their interests and views whilst also identifying their constraints and limitations. This then gives you the shape for your own arguments and points. Remember that the opposite side will want to find this out from you as you proceed!
  4. Set the outcomes around OBJECTIVE measurements: always have a concrete measurement of the outcomes that have been agreed as anything vague and uncertain will be the feeder for further negotiation and discussion. Agreeing to an inflation busting pay settlement is not a concrete outcome but agreeing to a pa award that is 2% above the current National Interest Rate can be measured and put into context.

As with everything in life and the universe, preparation is key!

Good Luck!

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3 Replies to “How To Have Successful Negotiations”

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