Towards better negotiation [Archives:2002/37/Business & Economy]

September 9 2002

The Road Ahead
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In order to achieve effectiveness in diverse activities such as buying & selling, contracting, or agreeing upon goals; Good negotiation skills are critical. It’s true that different people use different strategies of negotiation, however, they all start from one point, i.e. , what, when, where, how exclusive and how much?
Yet there are a few tips that help in negotiations. It’s important to know on which grounds you are standing, your points of strength and weakness, your flexibility level, and more than that, define your wants, objectives, what this negotiation is all about and what has to be addressed. You can use a preparation list in which you list out your goals and their importance levels.
The next step is to find out and analyze the other party’s goals, what do they want? How could your products or services help them in fulfilling them? Then try to find the spots in which they are willing to consider your products or services in order to result in movement from their side and possibility of settlement, only then propose.
While proposing, you can make use of a few strategies. First of all, allow room for negotiation through using flexible rigidity. For example you can be flexible about the means by which goals can be achieved, but goals have to be archived on time.
Very often, it’s a good idea to let the other party take initiative in the negotiation process; this would give you an idea of his expectations. On the other hand, raising your expectations and taking initiative in proposing the same would help you out in case you had to settle for less.
Trading places also help in understanding the circumstances of the other party and looking at the situation from their angle, and in turn this would help you in realizing their points of weakness, strength & limitations, just to know how far would he go.
Emotions can play a good role in negotiations, in fact, the party which controls the emotional content of the negotiation will walk away with the bigger winning, this control can be earned by perceiving in advance for the negotiation and so less likely to respond in one’s worst interest. Also look that you keep your emotions limp so that the other party makes the first emotional blow, which would give you an opportunity for more control upon the negotiation.
Deadlines are useful for enforcing decisions and agreements. Weather the deadline is absolute, real or convenient; keeping the other party anxious as time passes is a good tool to speed up the agreement.
Endnote: negotiators who are willing to take less would raise expectations and hence would end up receiving less. However, negotiations helps in controlling expectation levels and reach a fair deal.