We all negotiate in our personal and
professional lives. We negotiate when we go
to a garage sale, or when we want to do
something different at work, or when we are
dealing with members of the public.
Sometimes it’s easy to
negotiate, but other times, when we have a
great deal at stake or we are upset, the
task can be intimidating or difficult.
We are going to talk
about some tips to effective negotiating
that can help you work more effectively with
your customers, co-workers, and boss. They
are also applicable to other interpersonal
the Negotiation Process
Negotiating is the
process by which two or more parties with
different needs and goals work to find a
mutually acceptable solution to an issue.
Because negotiating is an inter-personal
process, each negotiating situation is
different, and influenced by each party's
skills, attitudes and style. We often look
at negotiating as unpleasant, because it
implies conflict, but negotiating need not
be characterized by bad feelings, or angry
behavior. Understanding more about the
negotiation process allows us to manage our
negotiations with confidence increases the
chance that the outcomes will be positive
for both parties.
to Successful Negotiation
Negotiation as Confrontational
Negotiation need not be
confrontational. In fact effective
negotiation is characterized by the parties
working together to find a solution, rather
than each party trying to WIN the contest of
wills. Keep in mind that the attitude that
you take in negotiation (e.g. hostile,
cooperative) will set the tone for the
interaction. If you are confrontational, you
will have a fight on your hands.
Trying To Win
At All Costs
If you "win" there must
be a loser, and that can create more
difficulty down the road. The best
perspective in negotiation is to try to find
a solution where both parties "win". Try not
to view negotiation as a contest that must
It's normal to become
emotional during negotiation that is
important. However, as we get more
emotional, we are less able to channel our
negotiating behavior in constructive ways.
It is important to maintain control.
Not Trying To
Understand the Other Person
Since we are trying to
find a solution acceptable to both parties,
we need to understand the other person's
needs, and wants with respect to the issue.
If we don't know what the person needs or
wants, we will be unable to negotiate
properly. Often, when we take the time to
find out about the other person, we discover
that there is no significant disagreement.
Personalities, Not Issues
Particularly with people
we don't like much, we have a tendency to
get off track by focusing on how difficult
or obnoxious the person seems. Once this
happens, effective negotiation is
impossible. It is important to stick to the
issues, and put aside our degree of like or
dislike for the individual.
In any conflict or
negotiation, each party contributes, for
better or worse. If you blame the other
person for the difficulty you will create an
angry situation. If you take responsibility
for the problem, you will create a spirit of
Solicit the Other's
In a negotiating
situation use questions to find out what the
other person's concerns and needs might be.
You might try:
What do you need from
me on this?
What are your concerns
about what I am suggesting / asking?
When you hear the other
person express their needs or concerns, use
listening responses to make sure you heard
For example: So, you
are saying that you are worried that you
will get lost in the shuffle and we will
forget about you...Is that right?
If I have this right,
you want to make sure that the phones are
covered over lunch?
State you’re Needs
The other person needs to
know what you need. It is important to state
not only what you need but why you need it.
Often disagreement may exist regarding the
method for solving an issue, but not about
the overall goal.
I would like an hour
on Tuesday to go to the doctor. I want to
make sure I am healthy so I can contribute
better to the organization.
Before entering into a
negotiating session, prepare some options
that you can suggest if your preferred
solution is not acceptable. Anticipate why
the other person may resist your suggestion,
and be prepared to counter with an
Negotiating is about
finding solutions...Arguing is about trying
to prove the other person wrong. We know
that when negotiating turns into each party
trying to prove the other one wrong, no
progress gets made. Don't waste time
arguing. If you disagree with something
state your disagreement in a gentle but
assertive way. Don't demean the other person
or get into a power struggle.
There are good times to
negotiate and bad times. Bad times include
those situations where there is:
a high degree of
anger on either side
a high level of
tiredness on one side
or the other
Time negotiations to
avoid these times. If they arise during
negotiations a time-out/rest period is in
order, or perhaps rescheduling to a better
Negotiating is a complex
process but one worth mastering. If you keep
in mind that you are responsible for the
success or failure of negotiation, and if
you follow the tips above, you will find the
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