The Negotiator Magazine

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Dear Adam,

Third party negotiators are common figures in many negotiations. I have fulfilled that role many times. They can bring expert knowledge and additional resource to a company for a specific negotiating opportunity. Letís look both at the nature of this relationship and at some criteria for selecting the third party negotiator.

Outside resource persons sometimes take the role of sole negotiator, often they are members of your negotiating team and sometimes they are unseen advisors to your chosen negotiator/s or to the principal. The first step in establishing your criteria requires that you clearly define the role of the third party. What, specifically, is this person to do?

The third party may be your spokesperson, your silent observer, your tactician or strategist, your coach or your negotiating facilitator working to assist both sides to find common ground or suggesting creative avenues to expand the pie. Is this person to draft the agreement? If so, you need a lawyer. Is this person to determine financial matters? You need a financial expert, of course, for this role. The list of possible skill sets is extensive.

The process of defining the third party role should also clarify the skill sets required to complete the negotiating team and its supporting personnel. It will provide a solid basis for estimating the time and expense resources that will be required for participating in the negotiations and become an input into your business case analysis of the project.

There are 10 criteria that I would suggest you consider as a general guideline for hiring your third party negotiating resource.

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