Negotiation is not a process by which you try to destroy the other party. Rather, it is a process by which you reach a certain result. Good negotiation occurs when all parties are truthful, and they connect and interact successfully with each other. Good negotiation cannot happen if either party is trying to boost their ego in the process. People can win while helping the other person get what they want.
We were born to negotiate just as we were born to walk. You may not even realize that you are negotiating when you talk to business associates, friends, children, and anyone in your communication realm. Some people think negotiation is confrontational. Good negotiation is not confrontational, and you really can negotiate “win-win” results.
Preparation is the key to being a good negotiator. If you are not prepared, you may not be able to explain the results you want, you may not be able to evaluate all the issues and alternatives, and you may give up too soon. There are certain essential steps that prepare you for the negotiation:
1) Set clear expectations and clear goals;
2) Identify any undisputed points;
3) Anticipate the counter-offers you could make or receive;
4) Know every detail and every issue;
5) Anticipate what the other party wants;
6) Decide what is the highest/lowest you will give or take; and
7) Be ready to explain why this the highest/lowest you will give or take
When the negotiation starts, state that it is your objective to reach a win-win result. Keep your goal in mind and listen carefully to what is important to the other party. Take notes if necessary. Be calm, courteous, unemotional, and relaxed. Isolate the points of disagreement and try to find solutions for each of them.
Ask “what,” “how,” and “why” questions to better understand the other person’s values and what is important to them. Continue to isolate the points of disagreement and find solutions for them. Acknowledge the points of agreement that you have reached up to this point.
Repeat the process, moving each party closer to the other until you have full agreement. If you cannot reach a result that is mutually agreeable, agree to disagree at that moment, give yourselves time to think about it, and schedule another meeting. It may take time and work, but you can negotiate a win-win result.
Jo Ann Joy, Esq., MBA, CEO
Copyright 2006 Indigo Business Solutions. All rights reserved.