Tips For Conducting High-Stress Negotiations

by drjim on June 7, 2013

Stressful negotiations can make you feel like you are in a battle

Stressful negotiations can make you feel like you are in a battle
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Not all negotiations are the same. Some can make you feel a great deal of stress: perhaps large financial terms are being negotiated or a big business deal is being put together. When your stress level goes up, a different style of negotiating is called for.

It’s All About The Big Picture

The last thing that any of us want to do is to enter into a negotiation where we have an incomplete, or even worse, an incorrect view of what the other side of the table wants to get out of the negotiation. In cases like this, the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that you normally use may not work. Instead of proceeding based on our assumptions or our best guesses, we need to take the time to find out from the other side what they want to accomplish before the negotiation begins. Once you know this, you can use it to shape your objectives – and figure out if you’re going to be able to achieve them.

When starting a negotiation, you are going to want to avoid going in with an assumption that you know everything that you need to know. Instead, take the time to ask the other side questions about how they see the situation that is being negotiated. All negotiators need to be careful to not make assumptions about the other side. If we allow ourselves to believe that we have entered into the negotiations with no biases, then we’re just going to be fooling ourselves.

Finally, we always need to be careful about how we view the other side of the table. It’s almost instinctive for us to assume that they are plotting against us. If we see them as being nefarious, then we’re going to end up interacting with them that way. A better approach is to come into the negotiations with an open mind. This will always lead you to a better outcome.

Discover What’s Going On And Then Collaborate

We all react to stress differently. More often than not, when we find ourselves in a stressful negotiation, we adopt a posture that we believe will make us look threating to the other side. By doing this we feel that we are now more in control of the proceedings. It turns out that we’re not really in charge at all.

When we are feeling this way, we tend to over react. We take extreme negotiating positions and we start to make excessive demands of the other side from the start of the negotiations. When we do this, the other side will react. They will start to show resistance and very quickly the negotiations will dissolve into some form of a stalemate.

Instead, what we need to do is to is at the start find out what is important to the other side – and why. In order to prevent a stalemate from happening, what you are going to have to do is to is to make proposals to the other side and then ask the other side for their critique – what would they change in order to make it better?

What All Of This Means For You

Every principled negotiation that we engage in is different. The ones that cause us the most stress are the ones in which the most is riding on us being able to reach a deal with the other side of the table.

In order to be successful in these negotiating situations we need a different set of negotiating skills. The first thing that we need to do is to make sure that we have a good understanding of the overall picture of the situation being negotiated. Next we can take time to learn what the other side of the table’s true motivations are and then propose multiple solutions to them.

As stressful as some negotiations can be, the good news is that we can still be successful in these tasks. Taking the time to learn the negotiating skills that we need to deal with these situations will allow us to be successful in even the most stressful negotiating situations.

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

Question For You: When we propose multiple solutions, how many solutions is enough and how many is too many?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Those of us who deal in the world of negotiations know that not all negotiations are created equal. One of the biggest differences is the amount of pressure that we find ourselves under during the negotiation. The bigger the stakes are, the more pressure that we feel that we are under. How we deal with all of that pressure is what separates the good negotiators from everyone else…

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