Negotiation is a discourse between two or more parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists.  Negotiation is an interaction and process aimed to compromise and agree on matters of mutual interest.

Negotiators need to understand the negotiation process and other negotiators to increase their chances to close deals, avoid conflicts, establishing relationships with other parties and gain profit.  It is often conducted by putting forward a position and making concessions to achieve an agreement. The degree to which the negotiating parties trust each other to implement the negotiated solution is a major factor in determining whether negotiations are successful.

Ten steps to success

  1. Set your objectives
  2. Identify the issues for all interested parties
  3. Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses
  4. Set an attitude for your approach
  5. Decide upon a strategy
  6. Plan your bargaining position for each issue
  7. Prepare your tactics
  8. Plan your questions and evidence
  9. Agree your alternatives
  10. Set up for final bargaining models

What skills do I need?

  • Soft communication skills
    • Active and passive listening
    • Build rapport
  • Recognise signals of wiliness to move by your opponent
  • Recognise the value of a concession to your opponent
  • Recognise common ground

What tactics are available to me?

  • Allow your opponent to make the first offer
  • Stay close to your ideal model
  • Only give small concessions
  • Hold off large concessions until you really need to
  • Build rapport on common ground
  • Note provisional agreements so as not to forget them.  Use them later as concessions.
  • Use fatigue to make quick agreements
  • Exaggerate the pain of a concession
  • Take adjournments
  • Cultivate a feeling of security
  • Discuss reason and logic, not dogma

What is an adjournment and how should you use them?

  • To allow time to consider agreement upon a proposal
  • To allow time to create a counter-proposal
  • To allow private time to align understanding within the negotiating team
  • To avoid pressure tactics
  • To reduce fatigue

What is the process of negotiation?

Prepare you case

    • Check all the facts that are available for the negotiation
    • Review current agreements, policies, laws, and rights
    • Work out what you need to agree
    • Decide on your key arguments
    • Design possible counter arguments
    • Describe your fallback position

Prepare your team

    •  Have a pre-meeting
    • Choose a speaker
    • Choose a note taker
    • Agree tone / arguments / tactics / role

Manage the meeting

    • Do not disagree as a team in front of the opponent
    • Use adjournments
    • Steer the discussion to your strongest points
    • Look for offers / concessions / weaknesses
    • Keep a written record of agreements

Report back

    • Feedback to confidential stakeholders
    • Consult with confidential stakeholders before making a final agreement