Are You a Good Negotiator?

Asking this differently… are you a good driver?  Everyone believes they are a good driver, it’s the other drivers that have concerns.  I have found that asking others if they are good negotiators, the typical response is that they believe they are good negotiators or they would not have gotten to where they are.  The same concept holds.  In this blog I want to share some thoughts to make you a better negotiator.

Make the task more enjoyable and social.  Work on building relationships with the other party.    Consider brainstorming ideas with food in a pleasant environment before even beginning the negotiations.  Think of how taking this approach may open both sides to consider the negotiation more openly.

Good negotiators prepare well.  They consider the start and end time, duration, place, personnel, agenda, and who will address what over the course of the negotiation.  They plan for the unexpected.  Those that walk in having prepared minimally have already given way to the other party.  Those that are well prepared, have thought it out and have practiced the commentary can easily adapt should the negotiation take a different twist.  Good negotiators know what their Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is walking into the negotiations.  This helps them evaluate when to thank the other party, but to walk away from an otherwise bad deal.

The plan includes multiple alternatives looking at the long-term goals and short-term interests of both parties.   They are open to exploring and facilitating not just the immediate subject of the negotiation, but also other elements that may be introduced during the discussions.  For example, future work, quality of work, timeframes on this or future contracts, making introductions to key parties or other interests may come to light.   Keep an open mind relative to interests.

Have firm deadlines.   Setting up the discussion for a specific time frame provides focus to the parties in the actual negotiation.  I have been a party to a negotiation with a firm 8 hour time commitment for both parties.  At about the 6th hour one of the parties asked to extend the negotiation for2 more hours.  An hour was spent negotiating to extend the negotiation for two more hours.  In the end it was successful.  Give very serious consideration to the deadlines of the negotiation meeting and the deadlines associated with the agreement itself.

Hopefully these four ideas will help you to be a better negotiator in the future.

Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA is an expert in conflict resolution dedicated to making thought-leading entrepreneurs and executives more successful. Michael’s books, including his NEW BOOK Peaceful Resolutions: A 60-step illustrated guide to conflict resolution are available at http://mikegreg.com/books.   Free resources are available online at www.mikegreg.com. Check out the blog.  Contact Mike directly at mg@mikegreg.com or call (651) 633-5311. 

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]