4 Ways To Simplify Your Next Negotiation

by drjim on October 24, 2014

Simple is always better

Simple is always better
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Let’s face it – with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we use, negotiations can become very complex if we are not careful. As a negotiator you should always be looking for ways to simplify the negotiating process. However, at the same time you need to make sure that you’ll be getting the best deal possible. Exactly how to balance these two goals is what the following four tips are designed to help you do…

Split The Difference

We’ve all heard this one before. When we’ve run into a disagreement with the other side about some part of the negotiation, generally the price, we tell them that we should just “split the difference”. This means that we’re willing to meet them half way on whatever the gap is between our current positions.

This can be a powerful technique to simplify a negotiation. However, you need to be careful here. You are going to have to decide if a split would be to your advantage. If it is, the simplicity and apparent fairness of this approach often makes the other side willing to take you up on your offer.

Discuss It Later On

It’s entirely possible that your negotiation has ground to a halt simply because the two sides of the table have been unable to agree on a single issue. Don’t let this derail your negotiations. Instead, suggest that you discuss that issue later on.

The reason that this technique can work to simply your next negotiation is because it give both sides of the table time to cool off. After you’ve worked through a number of other issues, you’ll be that much closer
to reaching a deal with the other side. When you both get back to the issue that was causing you so much trouble, you’ll both be calmer and more motivated to resolve it.

Let Someone Else Decide

As a negotiator, we can often think that it is our responsibility to solve every problem that comes up during a negotiation. This can cause problems because sometimes we just don’t have the answer to a sticky issue – the solution may be, as they say, “above our pay grade”.

In these cases, a simple way to resolve the issue that is causing you so much trouble is to hand it off to your boss or another responsible party to have them solve. it. Once they’ve come up with a solution that both sides can live with, you can then get back to the job of hashing out a deal with the other side of the table.

Think Outside The Box

This phrase has been overused in the past few years, but it is still a powerful concept. It is entirely possible that during your next negotiation you will run into a brick wall – neither side will be able to propose a solution to the other side that they can live with. If you are not careful, a deal just is not going to happen,

In this case, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break, go get some other sensory inputs and clear your mind. When you come back to the negotiating table tell the other side that you are committed to finding a solution that both of you can live with. Then start brainstorming with them. Throw out every idea that comes to you and see if you can find an idea that may seem outlandish, but which they could agree to. This is how outside of the box thinking can save your next negotiation.

What All Of This Means For You

Occam’s razor states that sometimes the correct answer to a problem is often the simplest answer. When it comes to negotiating, we can make a principled negotiation so complex that no deal is going to be possible. What we need to do is to find ways to prevent this from happening.

We’ve discussed four different ways to simplify a negotiation. The first is to offer to split the difference. The next is to put off the issue that is proving to be hard to resolve until later. We can also punt and offer to allow someone who was not involved in the negotiations to make a decision. Finally, we can suggest that both parties think outside of the box in an effort to come up with unique solutions.

No matter which approach we end up using, making a negotiation simpler improves our chances of being able to reach an agreement with the other side. Take the time to pick one of the techniques that we’ve discussed and see if you can make your next negotiation simpler and more successful.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Can you think of a reason why you might not want to make your next negotiation simpler?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’m not perfect – are you? I’m willing to bet that you are willing to admit that, like me, you are not perfect. However, when we know that we are not perfect a most peculiar thing seems to happen: we try to ignore it. It turns out that this is a big mistake and when you combine it with all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are used during a negotiation, it can have a dramatic impact on the types of deals that we can reach.

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