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How to Negotiate for a Win-Win

Updated on June 5, 2012

Negotiation is all about preparation and failure to prepare dramatically decreases
the chances of an outcome in your favour."If you don't prepare you will get caught
out on your weaknesses," says Robin Chandler, a partner at the Impact Factory, a consultancy.

Know thy self: Know your strengths and weakness. If you know you're easily persuaded for example and you're the seller, start with a high price as you know you’re likely to get pushed down on price.

Learn how to read body language. As well as listening to what is said, you need to read how the other party behaves.

Foresight: During the preparation phase, focus on your primary objective - and the other party's. Decide what you believe is fair and plan to be flexible. List the items you are prepared to concede and what you can reasonably expect the other party to concede. Anticipate what the stumbling blocks in your argument will be for them and have an alternative strategy or plan to deal with them.

Win or Lose: Decide if you want the negotiation to be combative ('win or lose'), or 'win-win' where the parties attempt to reconcile their positions so that the end result is an agreement under which both will benefit.

The Bottom Line: Decide the minimum you can accept. What terms, conditions or extras can you live without?

Research the alternatives – these can put you in a stronger bargaining position and
you can limit what you're prepared to concede.

Your Agenda: Creating an agenda gives you an advantage. It need not be written, though if it is, you're less likely to miss an item. An agenda will help guide you back if discussions stray off topic and to allocate periods of time to specific issues.

The other party's options may become more limited if they feel the pressure of time constraints.

You may also decide to set a deadline arbitrarily, perhaps by telling the other party that you're unavailable after a certain date, or to exploit an existing deadline, such as the launch of a new venture, in order to expedite the negotiation.

We negotiate nearly every day, either at work or in our personal lives. Learning to achieve a ‘win-win’ more times than the combative ‘win-lose’ should help ease the path to a less stressful work or personal life.


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