The Negotiator Magazine

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20      Negotiations do not happen by accident. Disputes arise for a reason. People submit to negotiations for many and varied reasons. Not all of the reasons are consistent with a positive outcome. Some are designed to achieve hidden agendas. In our attempts to be of help, we may lose valuable time and ground by being blindsided because we have not done our homework or have not been good observers.
21Traditionally, many have been taught this approach. We are told that the purpose of negotiations is to take all we can and that the other side’s needs and interests are unimportant. Success may be achieved better and quicker if the conveyed goal is for both parties to the dispute to come away with what they need to the greatest extent possible. Note that the issue is “need” and is not “want.” Careful analysis of the real issues and needs may reveal how this can be accomplished. If you do not look for it, you probably will not find it.
22“For what it’s worth” is worthless. Just do not do it. Have a reason for everything that you make part of the negotiation process. Adding material “for what it’s worth” injects unconsidered variables that may adversely affect the process. Always have a reason to make an insertion. You may not always be correct; however, at least you have attempted to think through the information and to decide on its relevance and helpfulness.
23Practice, practice, practice. Practice individual skills. Practice team skills as a team.
24Everyone understands that two heads are better than one. Imagine the power of a team when properly deployed and utilized to resolve a dispute. Teamwork is the key to success in bargaining. All members of the team support the efforts of the primary negotiator. All have input to the process. A team wins together and loses together.
25Pay close attention to the possible errors. The success of your next encounter may well depend on it. Post event critiques should be open and honest attempts to understand and to correct any of the errors made. Even successful events should be critiqued for errors and for recommended improvements.

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May 2006