The Art of the Deal … yours!

Win-Win Negotiation SkillsYou have heard the expression, “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.”

Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome. This outcome could benefit all of the involved parties, some of the parties or just one of them. Most people would probably agree that a good outcome for one of the parties may exclude a satisfactory outcome for the other parties. In some situations, this may be true, but the ideal situation is to negotiate an agreement that is beneficial to all parties. This is easier said than done.

However, there are some steps that will assist us in reaching the ideal state in negotiations. So, let’s consider these three (3) suggestions:

Figure out what is preventing agreementWhen you have made progress on certain issues but remain stuck on others, it’s time to take a hard look at what’s standing between you and a mutually acceptable deal. One key roadblock is that one party may not be offering their best deal. If this is the case, it may be advisable to ask a trusted and unbiased associate to for an opinion or suggestions. Sometimes, parties may not be in a position to their best and final offer on the “public” table. At times, it may be wise to take a break and agree upon a time to resume negotiations. This is true for large and small negotiations.

TimingNegotiations sometimes operate on Parkinson’s Law, which states that a task will expand to fill the time available. We may not like to make important decisions when our backs are against the wall, but deadlines can provide an incentive to reach agreement. We notice that many times lawsuits are settled on the “courthouse steps” and that strikes often are averted at the “eleventh hour.” Depending on the magnitude of your negotiations, recognize and anticipate these moments that could be used to your benefit. If possible, try to establish a deadline at the outset of negotiation without creating resentment from the other parties.

Allow the other party to maintain their self-esteem – Depending on the scale and scope of the negotiation, it is important to avoid personal animosities. Negotiations can be tense for all parties, but a t the conclusion it is important for each side to feel good about the job they have done for their constituents. Depending on the nature of the relationship, you may have to interact with the other party throughout the term of the agreement. If the other side “loses face”, they may be tempted to retaliate or make your life miserable throughout the term of the agreement.

In a large-scale negotiation such as a labor contract, you can help the other party maintain self-esteem by agreeing to let the union makes an offer that the company can accept, rather than vice versa. Alternatively, after negotiating a significant purchase such as an automobile, you would want to leave the salesperson with the desire to assist you in being satisfied with your purchase and subsequent service.

Related Articles:   Negotiations … it’s all in the planning! and   Win-Win Negotiations … use this skill!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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