Everything in life is a compromise; everything in life is a negotiation. We all seem stifled by the word and implications that surround negotiating. Yet what most of us do not realize is that we have been negotiating since we were born. From the time we wanted a bottle or refused napping our education in negotiation began. In fact, research for this article illustrates that 43% of the American workforce changed jobs since 2006. And, the divorce rate in the United States hovers at over 53%.
However, we become increasingly befuddled by negotiation. We hold strong beliefs that negotiation is meant to be a battle. We begin negotiations on the defensive and seek to end them in a similar manner. The most vital idea to comprehend about negotiation is its definition. Negotiation is nothing more than an exchange of ideas and values between two or more parties with different interests. Conceptually negotiation is a communication and critical thinking exercise inducing creative problem solving. This article seeks to address ways in which you can negotiate and still move away with your credibility and friendships in tact.
The best concept for understanding negotiation is to indicate what it isnt. We first need to debunk the myths.
Myth: Negotiation is about winning and losing. The myth of win-lose is ancient. Validation of winning is not bequeathing more concessions than the other party. One simply needs to be concerned with the amount of take. This denotes loss.
Myth: Negotiation is about power All people in a negotiation have power. If two sides are negotiating each as an equal amount of power, one desires something from the other. Yet negotiation is not so much about power, it is about honesty or lack thereof. Power stems from the side that enables it. Donald Trump by nature believes he has power due to wealth and notoriety, yet if he desires something from someone else the power shifts. The larger concern is not relinquishing power to the opposing side.
Myth: Negotiation is about chicanery In reality, negotiation is about resolving an issue where both sides obtain equal value by amicably and honestly agreeing to terms. However, negotiation is similar to chess, strategies are used and sometimes held so that each party gains more than they requested. Rather than lie, most negotiators are honest, they simply do not fully disclose information.
Myth: All negotiations are about prices and are sales related Nothing is further from the truth. Negotiations stem from all walks of life: from dating, to deciding upon a movie to noise decibels. Negotiating establishes boundaries and how far each side allows another within them.
Perhaps the most understood principle of negotiation is a requirement to plan. Most often, negotiations fail due to improper procedures, paperwork or misread issues. Planning is the first and vital step in every negotiation. Each party should strategize to define the motives of each side, goals that might be addressed, time frames and players. Research affirms that in 73% of most negotiators are unprepared. This step is vital to assist in moving forward. Good planning and comprehension help to avoid miscues and maintain proper and efficient conversation. Exemplars of good negotiation techniques are barely surprised by new information.
Negotiations are mixed motive situations. Each side arrives with a variety of goals and objectives- even timeframes. What appears urgent to one; is apathetic to another. It is imperative that issues be immediately addressed. Most importantly, the issues must be documented so all parties agree without a misunderstanding. A foppish issue should not resurface at a latter time. The more detailed the documentation the easier it becomes to facilitate conversation. Once agreed to, timetables should be established so as not to languish on any one issue.
Negotiation is information and relationship dependent. Information is crucial to negotiation. The data need be specific; it is easier to comprehend and complete issues. Typically a tactical ploy to assist concessions, most data is not displayed. Negotiators should then decifer the most imperative issues first do that all needed data is disclosed making for effective conversations. Coincidentally, conversations are more placid when parties are familiar with each other. Particular interest is implicitly displayed since familiarity with both parties shares a common interest- saving face. Dignity is a traditional process. Whether in business or amongst friends, all desire to maintain honor, especially with familiarity of the parties. As the cliché states familiarity breeds content; the more familiarity with someone the easier the negotiation!
Egos and Communication. Another crucial component for negotiation success is to check you baggage and your ego at the door. Good negotiators know they are purposeful and do not advertise their success. A negotiation is concerned with mutual agreement not wins and losses. Keeping egos in check helps alliances and other desired relationships.
Additionally, all negotiators need reminders for ears and eyes and not mouth. Too often negotiators tend to spoil alliances by speaking too much. Peter Drucker once stated, Communication is often about what is not stated. Listening enables all to understand issues, allow for issues that might go unstated and strategically enable the opponent to move first. The alliance builders understand the vitality of listening, it is a practiced art form.
Compromise, Commitment and Conclusion. Negotiation would not exist if not for the power and the reciprocity of compromise. Concessions enable negotiators to agree on small things to assist in declaring small victories. Accommodations negate foolish issues and streamline discussion. Once decided, agree to commitment and document so as not to rehash. Trivial details take time away from other important issues. It is more important to move forward then review unnecessary data. Once the issue is complete, move forward or conclude, it allows less time for pondering decisions.
To allay any fears of negotiating, it is best to align this business tactic with athletics, it is a learned format not born. Admittedly, there exist individuals that love to converse and banter yet negotiation is not an easy skill. It takes patience, persistence and proper listening to understand the issues. Negotiation is a part of everything we do in life, almost every day. It is a skill that combines crucial critical thinking, reciprocity, and professional communication. It is not easy to win friends and influence decisions in negotiation, yet if we understand motives, create a thorough plan and expect the unexpected, each negotiation we have becomes easier and more effective. Negotiation increases our perception, our patience and our resolve to maintain business relationships.
Copyright (c) 2007 Drew Stevens PhD