Negotiating - the good and the bad

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behaviours to avoid

1.Argument dilution

If you give many reasons to support a case, the other party is likely to exploit the weakest one. The more reasons given, the more a case is diluted, not strengthened.

2. Using Irritators

Words and phrases – eg a negotiator describing his proposal as a generous offer or a fair or reasonable solution – cause irritation. They imply the other party is being ungrateful or unreasonable.

3. Relying on defend-attack

Negotiation frequently involves conflict . When this becomes an attack on the other party, or is used as a defence, things tend to spiral in intensity: one negotiator will attack, then the other will defend in a manner that the first negotiator perceives as an attack.

4. Not planning in advance

Many don’t analyse information already at their disposal and work out what to do with what comes to light during the negotiation.

5. Abusing power

If one side feels more powerful and bullies his way through, he may come away with what he thinks is a good deal that isn’t. Had negotiation taken place he would have acted on reasoned argument from the other side.

top tactics

1. Prepare your position.

Carefully plan how you are going to engage with the other party.

2. Talk about your feelings

It enables you to connect on a human level and makes for a better climate in the meeting. Some 12 per cent of a skilled negotiator’s behaviour is about feelings.

3. Ask questions.

Uncover the other party’s strengths, weaknesses and strategic objectives and you will understand why some of your suggestions might be unattractive and find better ones.

4. Trade rather than concede.

Agree to do something only if the other party does something in return.

5. Don’t agree anything until you can agree everything.

The issues you have to settle, and what you are prepared to give to get them, are all inter-related. As you proceed, use the words ‘if’ and ‘then’ and draw all the threads together at the end.