Back to Index
download printable version
Successful civilized negotiation is based on the understanding that one can
better serve his/her interests by collaborating with other parties who have
the capacity to provide resources or services that make the whole greater than
the sum of the parts. Negotiation is about making the future better, gaining
buy-in from the interested parties, and adding value to the situation each party
faces. Negotiation is a constructive process.
Many parties to negotiations fear other parties because of their reputations,
their perceived power, or their use of sneaky tactics. Countering these obstacles
to a successful collaborative process requires looking for answers to several
questions and/or using a variety of techniques including the following:
- Would I choose to work with this other party of my own free will? Do they
have the capacity or the resources to address my interests?
- What interests of mine do I wish to serve in the bargaining process? Who can
add value to the situation I face?
- What is my BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement), that is, can I
get my interests served better by dealing with other parties or focusing on other
- How should I react if the party with whom I have to negotiate threatens me or
my company? What kinds of threats might they raise? If you think about these
issues before negotiation starts, you will be far better prepared for whatever they
might throw at you.
- When a party's offer or proposal to you is seriously off the mark or
inappropriate, don't explode. Sit there with a poker face, stay silent, don't
react. They'll get the message.
- Remember to keep asking yourself, "What is the point of this interchange?"
Why is the party with whom you're negotiating saying or doing something particular?
What is the point of what you say or do?
- Never never say something that is contrary to your interest. Don't let
someone force you to say something you'll regret later.
- If someone tries to bully you, tell them "I'm afraid we may fail to reach
agreement." Bullies are afraid of failure.
Steven P. Cohen, author of Negotiating Skills for Managers (McGraw-Hill, 2002)
is president of The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.
a global coaching and training firm headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts.
Back to Index
Copyright © 2004, Steven P. Cohen and The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine