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Win Squared also classifies tactics so that they are unique to one negotiation activity. This classification scheme results in "families" of related tactics. For example, the following tactics, occurring in different activities, are all related by the technique of repeating an action:

Come Again:

Ask same question repeatedly

Repetition:

Make same statement repeatedly

Persistence:

State same proposal repeatedly

Tenacity:

Make same argument repeatedly

Stonewall:

Reject same proposal repeatedly


The redefinition of tactics as actions used to affect the perception of value, and the structured classification of tactics by activity, allows the computer to analyze the tactics in relationship to the properties of the negotiation objects. If the object's perceived quality is low, the computer will select tactics that show how the object meets the standards of the other party. If the object's perceived usefulness is low, the computer will select tactics that show how the object fulfills the motivations of the other party. Win Squared evaluates and weighs 12 different properties in making its tactic recommendations.

In conclusion, despite the advances made by Win Squared, human negotiation is still too complex for computers to independently compete with humans. However, by using new ideas about negotiation objects, supply and demand, perceived value and tactics, Win Squared has taken a significant step toward deciphering the negotiation process and expressing it in terms a computer can interpret. As such it functions as an excellent training tool, preparation checklist, and source of ideas. As it evolves, as emerging technologies do, it will become an invaluable adjunct to existing software tools. Imagine a word processor that not only sets margins, but also makes suggestions for a letter's contents. Imagine presentation software that not only formats slides, but also suggests approach and tone. Imagine a browser that not only finds the best deals, but also creates them. Imagine a phone that not only allows you to talk to anyone, anytime and anywhere, but also helps you decide what to say.

David Ferguson is a practicing attorney in San Diego, California specializing in negotiations between government entities and private interests. He is the president of Arcadian Software, the developer and publisher of Win Squared. Further information about Mr. Ferguson, Arcadian Software and Win Squared can be found at www.winxwin.com.

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