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They are feeling the heat too

What surprises me most in negotiations is when the other side folds. It comes out of the blue. It doesn’t seem to reflect the strength of my position. It’s often contrary to how they had presented, even the table-thumpers.

I’m not a particularly skilled or highly experienced negotiator. But one thing I’ve noticed is it’s always darkest before dawn. Just when I think I have been worn down, I find out they have been too. 

I’ve also noticed a few things common to success.

One of them, which took me ages to recognize, is that you always have something the other side wants. Sounds basic, I know, but whether you are buying a second hand car or handling an industrial dispute, you have something that’s valuable to the other party. Otherwise there would not be a negotiation. Knowing that value is the platform underneath your position. It’s what counters fear, greed, anger and exhaustion. Lose sight of it and you lose out.

That value is not always clear at the beginning, which is why the second thing is so important. Listen. Let the other side do the talking. Don’t assume you know their agenda. Help it emerge. Ask questions. If you listen carefully, you will pick up on the tension around certain issues. Rather than feel your own pressure, see if you can feel theirs.

That needs patience, and you will be more patient if you work out exactly what your bottom line is before you meet. Don’t disclose it quickly. Take your time. Make it clear you are there for the long haul, and that you are prepared to walk if faced with total intransigence. You need to honor yourself.

By not hurrying, you will start to see what the other side considers a reasonable outcome. They need a result too. Have some concessions in your back pocket. Don’t just give them away, but be prepared to offer something in return for progress. Be reasonable. 

This will avoid counterproductive confrontations. If you up the aggressive ante, it will usually be matched by the other side. That reduces the chance of compromise. The next stop is stalemate. It pays to keep your cool. Emotional outbursts expose unprotected flanks, whereas you unnerve people by being unmoved. When faced with anger, try stepping aside and redirecting it past you.

Lastly, never rely on your own head. Always seek outside counsel. If you are struggling, tell someone and tell them why. We can all feel vulnerable. Be open about it. Make no undertakings until you have run them past a third party. It will not only provide some dispassionate advice; it will give you the chance to sleep on it. Remember, there’s no hurry.

Does this work?

There’s no doubt table-thumpers can win arguments, but not always. It’s a style disarmed by genuine listening and patience backed by sensible preparation and a preparedness to walk away. 

Negotiations rarely go to plan. The formula above has mostly gotten me an acceptable result, though rarely 100% of my preferred solution. I’ve usually had to give a little somewhere. 

Win-win is a cute term, but in my experience a realistic definition of a successful negotiation is this: both sides feel they have reached an acceptable outcome, but they are also both just slightly pissed off with the result.


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    Response: Hollister
    Hello, here to post points. Here's a good article written, rich in content. If you want more information, look at the situation here:Hollister

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