The Negotiator Magazine

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Charting the Errors and How to Fix Them

1Negotiators should be prepared to negotiate each dispute, and recognize that they may not be successful with every dispute. The skills of one negotiator may be better suited for a particular situation and not for another. Prepare your team with multiple skills and with multiple negotiators. Use them where they are most effective. Co-mediation and co-arbitration may be useful in these situations.
2Prior to entering negotiations, take time to understand the specifics presented to you. The more you know, the better.
3Evaluating when to negotiate and when not to negotiate takes some skill. Certain issues may become relevant at a particular time and not at others. What you say at a particular time or in a particular way may have a greater impact if timed properly based on what you observe happening in the negotiations. Bargaining may not be possible without establishing rapport first. Negotiation is not a single process. It is a multi-stage involvement.
4Negotiators must convey a sense of seriousness and of interest in the process and in the other side. It must appear as though you care about what is going on. This must be demonstrated throughout the process for it to be effective.
5Do your homework. Gather as much information as you can about the other parties to the negotiations. Intelligence information must be used intelligently if it is to have the desired effect on preparations, planning and delivery. Generally, information is power if gathered and utilized effectively.
6Focus, focus, focus. It is easy to get off-track. And, sometimes you will. Move the negotiations back to the mode of problem solving. Negotiations revolve around some sort of dispute. The goal is to solve the problem and resolve the dispute. Enlist the other side’s help in solving problems. Listen to what they say.

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May 2006