Many of us, particularly in business have been taught to approach an obstacle with the goal of overcoming it with a clear idea of victory. However, there is one context where this idea of “win at all costs” is actually detrimental…negotiation.
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When you bring an attitude of “take no prisoners” or if you do not get your way, then everyone loses. So what is negotiation and how can it be leveraged for you or your company’s success? Lets take a closer look.
The Benefits of Negotiation
Negotiation can be viewed as a problem-solving process in which interested parties communicate their differences and attempt to reach a common agreement. The operative word or spirit of the negotiations is “common agreement.” Why? Because on both sides of the table negotiation should focus on gaining the favor of people from whom we want things. Whereby, effective negotiation can produce an agreement that meets the needs of both sides while preserving the relationship.
Negotiation is a Process
When distilled down, negotiating is a process. It is using information, time and power to impact behavior. However, the power comes from preparation and planning, instead of trying to overcome other people.
Lets take a closer look at the negotiation process and why it is important for effective outcomes. Among other things, the process should focus on: (a) people, (b) interests, (c) options, and (d) strategy.
1. Focus on People: Do not personalize the issues. Separate the people from the issues. Make sure each party understands the others perception of what is involved. Active listening is key and speaking to be understood — not to argue a viewpoint.
2. Focus on Interests: There are compatible interests as well as conflicting ones behind each position. Seek to view things from the other person’s perspective. Find out why the other person has taken their position. Determine if your proposal conflicts with those interests.
3. Focus on Options: Work with the other party to generate multiple options. Brainstorm before you make your final decision. Look for areas of agreement and ways to merge differing interests. Explore options that cost you little and produce great benefit to the other party. Be flexible.
4. Focus on Strategy: Do your research. Ask questions. Keep up your self-esteem and confidence, even when things get difficult in the negotiation.
Framing a Mindset of Negotiation
Here are some key things to think about prior to negotiation in an effort to prepare yourself for the process. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Am I comfortable negotiating in this particular situation?
• Will negotiation meet my need?
• Is the amount of energy and time spent on my part worth the benefits that I can receive as a result of this meeting?
Point of Clarity Quote:
“Know what you want in the negotiation process and what you can live without….”
– Richard Bayer