The Negotiator Magazine

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If you have been using the deliberate style of negotiation and get the worst possible outcome, it's usually because someone becomes emotionally involved in the process. Is there any need to spell out how dangerous this can be?

I have seen companies lose thousands of dollars due to managerial ego standing in the way of a good deal. I bet you've seen it yourself: reason tends to fly out the window when someone's ego is on the line.

Creative problem solving doesn't have a chance—because someone is standing there stubbornly with only one thought paramount:

"I'm absolutely right and you're definitely ·wrong."

Much as you prefer not to think about it, this could happen to you. You can indulge in a bit of mental sleight-of-hand here to improve your chances; however, if the worst possible outcome is considered as an option, then it is far easier to make a decision and look for creative solutions.

Many negotiators invite the worst possible outcome because of their method of planning—or more accurately their lack of planning. would you believe that an astounding percentage of negotiators do their planning on the way to the negotiation? Then, when their gamble fails and the worst possible outcome seems about to eventuate, they press the panic button and the deal ends in disaster.

The worst possible outcome is vital in your planning because if you go past this point, the negotiation should stop. Remember the worst possible outcome is still one you should be able to live with.

Think carefully, think creatively, and think ahead.

3. Styles used by Negotiators

Negotiation requires interaction and communication between parties. However, there can be a dramatic difference between how much, and how effectively, parties communicate and interact. Communication between parties can be highly problematic; negotiations can be less combatant with the parties enjoying a mutually beneficial 'win-win' relationship, based on achieving joint goals.

Every situation is different. Therefore, you need to vary your style of negotiation according to the person with whom you're dealing, and according to what you want out of the deal.

This leads to a range of relevant research issues around negotiation behaviour such as the use of particular negotiation styles in such relationships.

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March 2005