Method of Developing Effective Negotiation Skills
The essence of effective negotiation can be summarized in the following seven recommendations.
- Research the individual with whom you’ll be negotiating: Acquire as much information as you can about the person with whom you’ll be negotiating. What are that individual’s interests and goals? What people must he or she appease? What is his or her strategy? This information will help you to better understand his or her behavior, predict his or her responses to your offers, and frame solutions in terms of his or her interests.
- Begin with a positive overture: Research shows that concessions tend to be reciprocated and lead to agreements. As a result, begin bargaining with a positive overture-perhaps a small concession-and then reciprocate the other party’s concessions
- Address problems, not personalities: Concentrate on the negotiation issues, not on the person on the personal characteristics of the individual with whom you’re negotiating When negotiations get tough, avoid the tendency to attack the other party. Remember it’s that person’s ideas or position that you disagree with, not with him or her personally.
- Pay little attention to initial offers: Treat an initial offer as merely a point of departure. Everyone has to have an initial position, and initial positions tend to be extreme and idealistic. Treat them as such.
- Emphasize win-win solutions: If conditions are supportive, look for an integrative solution. Frame options in terms of the other party’s interests and look for solutions that can allow this individual, as well as yourself, to declare a victory
- Create an open and trusting climate: Skilled negotiators are better listeners, ask more questions, focus on their arguments more directly, are less defensive, and have learned to avoid words or phrases that can irritate the person with whom they’re negotiating ( (such as a “generous offer,” “fair price,” or “reasonable arrangement”). In other words, they’re better at creating an open and trusting climate that is necessary for reaching a win-win settlement.
- If needed, be open and accepting third-party assistance: When stalemates are reached, consider the use of a neutral third party-a mediator, an arbitrator, or a conciliator. Mediators can help parties come to an agreement, but they don’t impose a settlement Arbitrators hear both sides of the dispute, then impose a solution. Conciliators are more informal and act as a communication conduit, passing information between the parties, interpreting messages, and clarifying misunderstandings.