Negotiation is the process by which typically two or more parties come together to try to create a mutually agreeable contractual decision. Negotiations end when all parties have come to a final decision and have agreed to contractual guidelines. Each party has competing interests and, thus, negotiations can be quite intricate and lengthy. Below are some tips how to be successful in negotiations, whether they involve business or family matters.
Forget hardball tactics
People often think that negotiation is a competition, where there is a winning and losing side. This approach is wrong and usually ineffective. First step to success is to understand the matter of an issue and how other person sees the problem. One thing we all know intuitively but is forgotten when we negotiate, is that everybody is different.
Second thing which you have to remember is what you want. Basic blocks will help you to decide what you aim for and what you expect. Sketch out your limits what to accept and when it is time to walk away. Many people do not enjoy negotiating at all. They become very anxious about it and feel they are going to fail. Often this manifests as a losing attitude. There is nothing weak about this mindset. Research consistently indicates that ultra competitive negotiators get less of what they want. The more you are prepared to focus on the other side’s needs the more you can get back in return – the more you give the more you get.
What’s your relationship?
Here you may chose either way, depending on person and issue you are discussing. Visualise a scale with someone you barely know and your best friend at the other. The closer your relationship, the more you can use a co-operative approach. Otherwise look at negotiation from the side of stranger, as you are defending someone else’s interest.
Beat Tough Guys at their own Game
We may all agree that ‘fusing’ is the right approach to negotiation – especially in our modern inter-connected, inter-dependent world. However, this doesn’t stop many people displaying the kind of tough guy tactics. However kind and considerate you may be as a negotiator you have to be able to handle yourself with these people or they will roll you over. There are many kinds of tough guy tactics. Some people will make threats or shout, some will set false deadlines to put pressure on you to concede. Some will give you ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatums to try to panic you in to agreeing. Some will play good cop/bad cop, or disingenuously try to claim the moral high ground by suggesting that they are being fair or reasonable (the implication being that you are not and so you ought to give in).
It’s very tempting when this kind of thing happens to keep your head down and pretend it isn’t happening. Don’t stoop to their level. That’s the professional thing to do right? Wrong. Most tactics of this kind are adopted to put pressure on you. If you make it clear that you know what is going on then normally they will drop the tactic. There are lots of different ways of doing this. If someone is trying to intimidate you by shouting you can say ‘Would it help if both of us shouted?’. Or we believe in negotiating without shouting – shall we start again?’ Or It’s not a question of who can shout the loudest, it’s a question of meeting both our needs. What we need is “x”….’ Any of these approaches will normally stop them in their tracks. Make their behavior the issue and the issue of their behavior will go away.