Negotiators always ask about the other party’s perceptions and thoughts.
negotiators always ask about the other party’s perceptions and thoughts.
A better response would be, “What you seem to be asking is, How is it that despite a higher price, we still have a long and growing list of customers? We both know that no one will pay more for something than it’s worth, so let’s discuss the value we bring so that you can decide what’s best for you.”
My client wanted to wait until Company X had bought out the other two owners before negotiating the sale of his shares. He figured that by being “the last piece of the puzzle,” he would be able to hold out for more money.
You will be less nervous about negotiating, however, if you repeatedly practice and rehearse. You can also avoid anxiety by asking an outside expert to represent you at the bargaining table.
Until 20 years ago, few researchers paid much attention to the role of emotions in negotiating—how feelings can influence the way people overcome conflict, reach agreement, and create value when dealing with another party. Instead, negotiation scholars focused primarily on strategy and tactics—particularly the ways in which parties can identify and consider alternatives, use leverage, and execute the choreography of offers and counteroffers. Scientific understanding of negotiation also tended to home in on the transactional nature of working out a deal: how to get the most money or profit from the process. Even when experts started looking at psychological influences on negotiations, they focused on diffuse and nonspecific moods—such as whether negotiators felt generally positive or negative, and how that affected their behavior.
As another example of divergent framing of the same event, many on the Political Left felt Comey’s testimony proved the President obstructed justice. “If one believes James. B. Comey’s account of his encounters with President Trump, it could present a prosecuable case of obstruction of justice, several former prosecutors said Thursday.” (Charlie Savage, “Did Trump Obstruct Justice? A Legal Debate.” New York Times, June 8, 2017. Accessed at http://nyti.ms/2rJZU4P.)
Indeed, framing has been core to the conflicts between Trump supporters and Trump opponents since the beginning of the campaign. Is America a mess that needs to be “cleaned up” so that we can “make America great again?” Or does “make American great again” mean taking it backwards to a simpler time when the country was more isolated from outside influence, racially whiter, and less accepting of non-fundamentalist Christian values? Is climate change the existential challenge of our times, or is it a hoax, perpetrated by purveyors of alternative energy, in an attempt to increase their fortunes at the cost of traditional energy sources such as coal and oil?
And if you happen to make a gaffe, some early preparation – before the negotiation even gets underway – can lessen its impact. State at the outset of talks that you have worked to understand the other party’s perspective, needs, and interests, but that you recognize – and hope that they do too – that a lot of learning will take place as the negotiation moves forward and the relationship builds. Express the hope that when a mistake or misunderstanding occurs, as some inevitably will, both sides will see it as a natural part of the learning process and redouble efforts to reach an understanding of the other’s point of view.
Unfortunately, when you start a negotiation with someone new, you can expect that he will assume the worst about your motives and intentions. If you hold out for a better offer, he might think that you’re greedy, that you like to see him suffer, or that you’re simply unfair. In reality, of course, it could be that you are representing a constituency that will not accept the deal on the table, or budget constraints might be forcing you to stand firm.
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Published on Apr 5, 2015
Any kind of “take it or leave it” or “this is my final position” pronouncement cuts off the negotiations completely. Ultimatums are especially dangerous early in the negotiating process.
To help you stay focused, remind yourself of your own objectives. To a great extent, power is a matter of perception. You may feel at a disadvantage when negotiating with a more powerful individual, but keep in mind that you would not be negotiating unless you have something the other party needs. On the other hand, Gesme notes that “overconfidence kills most negotiation.” Speaking specifically of managed care plans, he says, “The doctors who think they do it well get fleeced more often than anyone else. Be humble but know your options.”
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Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern
How have you built trust within a relationship in negotiation? Share your story in the comments.
In order to create a durable relationship in negotiation, there are four basic building blocks that can help you create effective partnerships with the people you lead:
Having an accurate sense of the other side’s walk-away alternative will help you:
Anticipating the other party’s arguments, questions, and tactics will help you: