How to Negotiate Effectively

1. People – Separate the people from the issues. There is no need to personalize the issues with remarks about the person on the other side of the table. Stick to the issues. Recognize that there is emotion and investment on both sides and be prepared to listen well. You know what Steven Covey says, ‘Seek first to understand, then, to be understood’. Be soft on people and hard on issues. This way you can keep the relationship AND a mutually satisfying outcome.

2. Interests – Focus on the interests of the other, rather than the position. Behind each position lies compatible as well as conflicting interests. For example, when negotiating a raise, a wise person acknowledges that the interests of the company are to be progressive while making a profit. The wise boss acknowledges the interests of the employee to accelerate on his/her career path while making a contribution to the company and supporting his/her lifestyle or family. Negotiations do not take place in a vacuum. Each person has a real life going on, with real needs and interests.

3. Options – Work with the other party to generate a variety of options from which to create a solution. Brainstorm possibilities without judgment or comment. You’d be surprised how many good ideas can surface when this is allowed to occur. Make no decisions until you’ve exhausted your list of possibilities. Then, look for areas of agreement. Where are your interests shared? Where are the interests a good fit? Explore options that are of low cost to you and high value to the other party and vice versa.

4. Criteria – It is imperative to negotiate within mutually agreed-upon standards of fairness. Otherwise, negotiating can turn to street-fighting! These criteria may range from current market value to procedures for resolving conflict. They will allow you to create an equitable solution while keeping your relationship intact. Want proof? Try it at home!

5.  Before entering into a dialogue of negotiation, be clear about the
outcome you prefer. Be able to express this preference well with
supporting statements that will make sense to your partner. Be prepared
to listen more, or, at least, as much as you speak. Listen for common
interests and possible options. Know what you are willing to give as
well as what you would like to receive.

Happy Negotiations!


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