Negotiating a certain contract or deal is not always an easy thing – in fact, it’s usually a difficult thing, which is why the art and science of negotiation is so important. Going into the room with a hard-core attitude of making sure you win is not always the answer; neither is going into the room with a preconceived idea that the other party has the upper hand.
Negotiating is about finding solutions, both for you and your party as well as for the opposing party. It’s about communicating your point of view, understanding the others’ starting point, and seeing where you can meet in the middle. What is the best approach to a successful negotiation? Here are your main questions answered.
The win-lose approach
This is, unfortunately, the mentality with which many people approach the negotiating table – and it often doesn’t end well for either (or often both) of the parties. It’s not something you should aim for; people who are successful in life build a lot more bridges than they ever destroy.
The win-win approach
It’s a deal when everyone wins. Maybe none of the parties get exactly what they originally aimed for, but none of the parties feel disadvantages, and there are great prospects of doing more business in the future. Focus on the following:
Think about your relationship – The relationship you have with the other party is different than the actual problem you want to solve. If you show you value the relationship with the other party, chances are they will be more amicable as well, and try to meet you half-way.
Interests are more important that positions – Focus on both your interests, as well as those of the other party.
Think about various options – Think outside the box, and ask for help to seek a solution.
Go for the goal – It’s the goal that is important; not the other party, nor the process. Keep the goal in mind.
It should be clear by now that the win-lose approach is really not an option; it’s useless, and although it may lead to a short-term victory, it is not the approach a seasoned entrepreneur or manager would ever take. By finding a solution that is satisfactory (even great) for both parties, both parties can walk away from the table knowing they have accomplished their goal.
To help you in the negotiating process, be it a company merger, an investigative interview, or a deliberation, record everything (with everyone’s approval, of course). When it is recorded, you can keep track of everything that went on. Have the recording transcribed by legal transcription services – with the proper legal transcription service, you can read the actual words and statements said during the negotiation process, which you can make use of for both the present – and future – negotiations as well.
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