How To Create Value In Your Next Negotiation

Negotiators want to find ways to expand the pie
Negotiators want to find ways to expand the pie
Image Credit: Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Negotiators view every negotiation as a type of game. They show up ready to use their negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to compete with the other side in order to see who can walk away being a winner. I’m pretty sure that we all realize that we should be cooperating, but instead all too often we end up competing to see who can win. The reason that we do this is because we arrive at the negotiation with the assumption that we’re dealing with a fixed pie – there is only so much to be had, and somebody is going to walk away with more and somebody is going to walk away with less. We view a negotiation as being a win-lose competitive situation. What we really should be doing is working with the other side to find more value in the negotiation.

Take The Time To Build Trust And Share Information

As a negotiator, what you want to do is to build trust with the other side. The easiest way to go about doing this is to share information in an open, truthful manner. The value created by sharing information with the other side will often outweigh the risk of having that information misused by them.

Ask Good Questions

Negotiators want to understand the other side’s interests as well as possible, yet both parties may be unwilling to fully disclose confidential information. What should you do next? The answer is to ask a lot of questions! Many negotiators view negotiating primarily as an opportunity to influence the other party. As a result, we tend to do more talking than listening. And when the other side is talking, we tend to concentrate more on what we’ll say next than on the information being conveyed. The downside to doing this is that it only assists the other party in collecting information from you. Good negotiators know that listening and asking questions are the keys to collecting important new information.

Be Willing To Give Away Information

When any negotiation is just starting out, the level of trust between both sides will be low. This raises the question of just exactly what a negotiator should do in this situation. The answer might surprise you. Give away some information that focuses on the deals you are willing to make. Doing so can enable you and the other party to make the pie of outcomes larger. We also have to remember that behaviors in negotiation are often reciprocated. When you share useful information, the other side may return some of their own. The key is to give away information that will inspire wise tradeoffs, rather than simply slicing up the pie.

What All Of This Means For You

As negotiators we need to realize that when we enter into a principled negotiation, trust is going to be something that is in short supply. Both sides will be showing up in a competitive mood thinking that there is a limited amount of what is being negotiated and so each side will want to get more for themselves. As skilled negotiators, we need to learn how to make the “pie” of what is being negotiated larger so that both sides can walk away feeling like they got what they wanted.

The first thing that we need to do when starting a negotiation is to make sure that we are willing to take the time to build trust with the other side. The best way to go about doing this is to share some information with them. We also want to get good at asking questions. We do this in order to better understand the other side. This allows us to collect new information. In order to build that sense of trust, we need to be willing to give away information to the other side. This will allow us to work with them to make the pie even larger.

Trust is the key to a successful negotiation. However, trust is not something that is easy to create during a negotiation. As negotiators we need to understand that in order to build trust with the other side, we need to master the techniques that will be required to create a larger pie. It is only by doing this that we’ll be able to create deals in which both sides feel that they were able to get everything that they hoped to get out of the negotiations. A bigger pie means a better deal for everyone involved in the negotiation.

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

Question For You: How can you teach yourself to become a better listener during a negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In addition to different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques there are a number of different things that negotiators need to be able to deal with during a negotiation. Being overconfident is one of these. What we need to understand is that if we allow ourselves to become overconfident, then there is a good chance that it is going to affect both our judgement and our decision making process. What we need are ways to detect when we are becoming overconfident and ways to deal with it when it happens.