The Negotiator Magazine

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As you approach this decision, it is vital for you to recognize that whoever you choose will be your organizationís representative. Unless this third party is completely behind the scene, your negotiating partner is likely to always associate you and your outside resource as a common entity in this negotiation.

Additionally, it is critical that you recognize and plan for the resource requirements and prepare your team about sharing confidential organizational information with the third party negotiator. A valuable negotiator can not operate effectively in a vacuum.

The principal and the management team must be able and willing to share their goals, their hopes and their assessment of the Best Alternative to the Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) at length and in full with this negotiator to enable them to succeed. Principals also must recognize that the outside representative will require significant and regular amounts of the time of designated support personnel as negotiations move along.

Along with this understanding, the principal must be prepared to define both the third partyís authority and their areas of flexibility. This should be a negotiated understanding between the parties. Equally vital is clarity about the expectations of the principal not only about the negotiations, but also about the time commitment of the negotiator.

The wise principal will ensure that the third party is committed at the beginning of the engagement not only to concluding the agreement, but also to assisting in its implementation if that is the expectation.

Lastly, it is essential that billable expenses and costs are clearly defined so that neither party is surprised. Is that one minute phone call charged as one-quarter hour of consulting time, for example? Costs and expenses mount rapidly in protracted negotiations.

There are many talented third party negotiators.

Good luck,

John Baker

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