Negotiation -The Art of Working Out a Settlement
What is negotiation?
The art of negotiation takes skill, clear goals and sometimes being willing to compromise. Webster’s dictionary definition of negotiate is “to confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter.
Negotiating Not Productive
Negotiation Part of Everyday Life
Negotiations between couples or between two leaders of a nation are not always handled in a fruitful way. A good way to negotiate it to: “Find out what the needs of the other person are and try to meet them without losing sight of your own goals.” We negotiate many things in life from budgets at home, to purchasing a house or car or negotiating a salary. Farmers have to negotiate on the price for their crops and there are all types of jobs that require some compromise.
Unfortunately many people think negotiation as being the skill of persuading the other person to accept their point of view.
Some Types of Negotiators
In today’s world someone is thought of as a good negotiator if this person usually gets the best of the deal:
- Many people use intimidation as a way to prevail.
- Aggressive negotiators attack or fight.
- Others try to appease or put forth a sense of cooperation to convert the other party.
- Some attempt to distract, evade the topic and ultimately frustrate other party.
- Then there are those that seek the truth and they might be a bit of an idealist.
- People of different cultures often use different styles of negotiation as well.
When you are in a negotiation with someone you might look for these traits, as you will know what to expect from that person and you will ultimately have an advantage to counter their style of negotiation.
As an example; negotiators who attack or fight seek to win as their goal means victory. They think of it as outmaneuvering or outsmarting the other person. They will make threats, insult, withhold information or skew the facts and really demand a one-sided game. They aren’t willing to negotiate at all, just do whatever it takes to win.
It becomes very apparent when you are dealing with this type of individual and you probably don’t want to get in a shouting match. Remaining calm or even leaving the area will infuriate this type but it may be your best move as he will know you are not falling for his tactics.
A person who puts forth a sense of cooperation is probably someone you can negotiate with and come to a resolution. Someone who continually distracts would have to be dealt with more firmly by saying something like, “When you are ready to discuss this problem so that we can reach a compromise, let me know.” If he doesn’t cooperate quickly, leave the room.
How to Negotiate Anything
At an Impass
Psychological Research in Negotiations
- In an article recently published in the Annual Review of Psychology, HBS Professor Kathleen L. Valley, HBS Research Fellow Max H. Bazerman and their colleagues synthesized groundbreaking negotiation studies to date, and pinpointed five emerging areas of research which they consider critical for the future.
These five areas are:
- Preconception Count: Almost anyone has an idea of how a negotiation will go before they begin
- Ethical Behavior: Typically a person sees themselves as more ethical than the other party.
- Face-to-Face, Phone or Email: Fact-to-face meeting tend be more productive as they foster rapport and there is less misunderstanding and deceit. Email doesn’t have the social aspect and is not the best way to negotiate. For instance, one study found that 24 people were in a decision making group on the internet and there were 102 instances of rudeness and impulsive behavior. The same study had 24 people face to face in a room and there were only 12 remarks that would be considered rude.
- Crossing Cultures: Negotiations with people from different cultures can be very difficult. For example, when business leaders negotiate with the Chinese they need to understand that the Chinese consider this fun. The Chinese will generally expect a long, complicated negotiating process which means both sides have to work hard to learn what the other side really wants. Chinese do not come to the negotiating table with a clear list of objections. To them, this is the challenge. Americans try to take shortcuts to get results which ultimately give the Chinese the upper hand in doing business. It would seem the Chinese are very patient people.
- Negotiation with More Than Two Players: When you have more people in the negotiating process it becomes more complicated. Often if they set down some ground rules things will run a little smoother.
How to Negotiate a Salary
Couple Making Up Courtesy
7 Simple Steps to Negotiating
Identify the problem with both people using “I” statements to state the problem.
Listen assertively. Each person states an opinion and the other person should restate the opinion as they heard it to avoid misunderstandings. It does not mean you agree with the opinion. As example would be, “When I go out into the garage to work on the car or do yard work I can’t find tools and items I need because of the laundry and other items scattered around”. The other person would say “So you are saying that you can’t find the tools you need to work on the car or do yard work because of laundry and other things lying around the garage.” Communication is paramount in negotiation.
Brainstorm: Each person throws out ideas. This is only an information gathering step, not one for judgments. Writing the ideas down can help. Some ideas might be, “Maybe we could clean the garage together on Saturday.” Or, “maybe I could find a place in the house for laundry and bring it in as soon as it’s dried.’ Maybe we should go to Home Depot Saturday morning and buy some shelves to help organize the garage.”
Pick a Solution: When you run out of ideas it is time to decide on a solution. “We will buy shelves Saturday and clean the garage.”
Make a Contract: This means you are clearly stating what you have agreed to and the contract should be specific and defined in behavioral terms.
When two people are willing to follow the simple steps outlined above the art of negotiation is not too difficult. If you are purchasing a car or home know what you want and what you are willing to pay before the negotiations begin.
When negotiating with unreasonable people, it will take patience. It is important to find out the needs of the other person and then try to establish some common ground. It may be that you will both decide on an acceptable compromise Set boundaries as you do not have to accept rudeness or condescending behavior. Don't react, just repeat the boundary you have set in a calm way.
The art of good negotiation does require skill, clear goals and a willingness to compromise if necessary.
© 2011 Pamela Oglesby
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