As negotiators, what we are all trying to do is to become better. Our goal is to be able to use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to walk away from our next negotiation with the feeling that we got what we wanted and that the other side will come through with the promises that they have made to us. In order to be successful, we need to develop three negotiating skills that will allow us to reach better agreements faster.
Develop Set-up Tactics
Before they sit down at the table, negotiators often make a number of decisions, small and large, that can have a dramatic effect on how the talks unfold. One of the most important questions to ask is whom you should be negotiating with to meet your goals. Look beyond your final target: You might make the most progress by negotiating first with people who can influence him or her.
Another key question is whether to negotiate online (via email, videoconferencing, or text messages), on the telephone, or in person—or a combination of all of these formats. Meeting in person is often ideal, but other communication media have their advantages. When meeting in person, should you meet at your office or theirs? Meeting at your place may be most comfortable, but traveling shows your commitment and allows for valuable information gathering.
Engage In Value-Creating Tactics
Negotiators often view negotiation as a win-lose enterprise, but in most situations, a win-win mindset will lead you to better results. Adding issues to the discussion is often the key to value creation and finding a great deal. For example, in a business negotiation about a merger, in addition to discussing valuation and price, parties can discuss personnel issues, headquarters location, long-term strategic plans, and so on. The next step is to explore tradeoffs based on each party’s preferences. Other promising value-creation strategies include asking lots of questions to learn about what matters to your counterpart and sharing information about your own interests and priorities.
Use Value-Claiming Tactics
You need to realize that taking a collaborative approach to negotiation doesn’t negate the importance of claiming a fair share of the value you’ve jointly created. Effective value claiming can be based on a thorough analysis of what you want out of the negotiation as well as what the other party wants.
Be sure to spend some time thinking about your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement—what you’ll do if you fail to reach your goals in the current negotiation—and try to discover what your counterpart’s BATNA might be as well. Negotiators often find they can effectively claim value by making an ambitious first offer, but you’ll need to have a solid sense of the bargaining zone. Research has shown that the person who makes the first offer often anchors the negotiation to their advantage.
What All Of This Means For You
Every negotiator wants the same thing: to be able to reach the best deal possible with the other side. In order to make this happen we have to take the time to develop the negotiating skills that will allow us to find ways to get the deal that we want. We need to understand the skills that we need are the key to getting the deals that we want.
Before you start your next principled negotiation you need to decide who you should be negotiating with. You’ll also have to make a decision about how you want to conduct your negotiation: face to face or some other way. During the negotiation you will want to be searching for ways to create more value for both sides. You will want to add more issues to the negotiation in order to create a deal that both sides can live with. Make sure that you know everyone’s BATNA and try to make the first offer in order to anchor the negotiations.
Knowing what we have do before we enter into a negotiation and then understanding how to create negotiation that will deliver more value to both parties is key. During the negotiation you need to understand what your limits and the other side’s limits are. If you can master these skills, then your next negotiation can be completed faster and both sides will walk away believing that they got what they wanted.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Which way do you think is best to negotiate: face-to-face or online?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Negotiation is all about sharing. Well, at least pretty much all about sharing. One of the big questions that every negotiator is dealing with when we start a negotiation is just exactly how much we want to share with the other side. We all know that no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques we use, we are going to have to share at least some information with the other side. The question that we are facing is how much is too much? Negotiators need some guidance in how to go about doing this sharing thing the correct way.