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Effective Negotiation

Adapted from Articles & Advice Columns by Steven Cohen, President, The Negotiation Skills Company

Negotiation is a Life Skill

Everybody negotiates all of the time. It helps people reach decisions jointly in a civilized way

Definition of Negotiation
Successful negotiation is a process that yields an agreement, as part of collaborative decision making, that each party will willingly fulfill.
The fundamental asset of negotiation is information.

Negotiation is not a competitive sport

Taking a hard line may be fine -- but only in the short term, and only if you really believe that your counterpart is your adversary. Before you come up with a take it or leave it approach, consider the consequences.

Negotiation is often a series of episodes, which means that considering your counterpart as a partner or a collaborator is the foundation of trusting, fruitful, and ongoing negotiation. How the game is played matters more than who wins.
Steven P. Cohen, Pres., The Negotiation Skills Co.

Negotiating Requires Multiple Steps

Knowing: 1. what you really want, why and how badly you want or need it, and at what point you're willing to walk away without getting it. 2. Know what the other party wants and why it's important to them. 3. How much do they need or want what you have to offer? 4. What would make them really happy? 5. Are they being honest & sincere?

This is vital information if you're going to craft a creative resolution that will satisfy everyone.

Six Stages in the Negotiation Process:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Orientation and fact finding Resistance Reformulation of strategies Hard bargaining and decision making Agreement, and Follow-up

Acuff, Frank L. (1997). How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere Around the World. New York: American Management Association

Five Levels of Communication

1. Facts what someone sees, hears, touches, & perceives the facts to be. 2. Thoughts what their thoughts about the facts are. 3. Emotions how they feel because of their thoughts about the facts. 4. Meaning/Importance why its important to them.

5. Actions/Expectations what they want.

Information from: Resource International

Eight Pillars of Negotiational Wisdom

by Steven Cohen
1. 2. Be Conscious of the difference between positions and interests. If you can figure out why you want something - and why others want their outcome - then you are looking at interests. Be Creative. Using brainstorming techniques, listening to outlandish proposals and opening up to unanticipated possibilities expands agreement opportunities. If you respond with new ideas and do the unexpected, you can open doors to far greater gains than when you behave predictably. Creativity can make everyone look good. Be fair. If people feel a process is fair, they are more likely to make real commitments and less likely to walk away planning ways to wriggle out of the agreement Be prepared to commit. You shouldn't make a commitment unless you can fulfill it. Your commitment isn't worth much unless the parties to the negotiation are Drop-Dead Decision-Makers. Moreover, commitment is not likely to result unless all parties feel the process has been fair. Be an active listener. Focus on what others say, both on their words & their underlying meaning. Be conscious of the importance of the relationship. Most of your negotiation is with repeaters, (family, friends, employers, team mates, etc...). Be aware of BATNAs. BATNA stands for the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Your BATNA is the situation you want to improve by negotiating with a given party or set of parties. But BATNA is not your bottom line. It is a measure of the relative value of negotiating a particular issue with a particular party -- or whether you can fall back on better alternatives. Be Prepared. In order to negotiate effectively, efficiently, and wisely, it is crucial to prepare. Your job is not to outline a perfect, total solution; that would be a positional approach. Preparation means studying the interests and BATNAs of every possible party. It means understanding the short and the long term consequences you use and the substantive results you pursue. Doing your homework can save a lot of time.

3. 4.

5. 6. 7.


Good Negotiation Habits

A key to negotiation is knowing the other partys primary & 2ndary needs. The more info you gather prior to formal negotiations, the betterprepared you are to negotiate. Create an interest map listing the opposing partys interests in the outcome & the reasons behind them. It focuses you on the info youll need, the questions youll ask & areas of common ground. Do a reality check test the accuracy of your information. Ask Questions during the negotiation. Hear the other person listen, focus, ask clarification questions, pay attention, summarize. Dont rush to judgment collaborate & cooperate. Be flexible The key communication skill in negotiation is to listen.
You have two ears & one mouth use them in that ratio.

Two Categories of Negotiation

Positional -- someone who is inflexible, says 'my way or the highway', and who cannot change his/her demands without losing face. Positional negotiators place their demands on the bargaining table and expect their negotiation partners (the folks on the other side of the table) to respond by saying 'yes' or 'no'. Interest-based -- negotiation focused on the underlying reasons for pursuing one's negotiation objectives. Interest-based negotiators try to learn what factors offered by their negotiation partners will help them achieve their own interests -- and what those other parties believe the interest-based negotiator can offer to respond to what they themselves want.

Interest Based Negotiation

Determine what both parties interests are & any other

special interests they might represent.

Its not what they want, but why they want it thats more important. Once the reason behind the other partys stance is identified, it becomes much easier to reach common


There arent any specific models for negotiating specific kinds of issues. Each negotiation depends on many issues & may be amenable to a variety of different approaches.

Negotiation is quite different from flying an airplane. A pilot must go through a precise pre-flight process before taking off. There is no room for varying that process. A good negotiator understands that the process involves a continuous series of choices as to strategy and tactics.
Being locked into one strategy or set of tactics to implement that strategy weakens a negotiator's capacity to reach wise solutions in an efficient manner.