Negotiation Skills

Essay by flyingangelUniversity, Master's July 2006

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"In a successful negotiation, everyone wins. The objective should be agreement, not victory."

"Every desire that demands satisfaction and every need to be met-is at least potentially an occasion for negotiation; whenever people exchange ideas with the intention of changing relationships, whenever they confer for agreement, they are negotiating."

The key to successful negotiation is to shift the situation to a "win-win" even if it looks like a "win-lose" situation. Almost all negotiation has at least some elements of win-win. Successful negotiations often depend on finding the win-win aspects in any situation. Only shift to a win-lose mode if all else fails.

The key to negotiation success is to focus on four areas:

1. People -- Separate the people from the issues to avoid personalizing the issues. Make sure each party understands the other's perception of what is involved. Recognize the underlying emotions on both sides and acknowledge them.

Listen actively and speak to be understood, not to argue a position. Don't debate -- cooperate.

2. Interests -- Focus on interests instead of positions. Behind each position lie compatible, as well as conflicting, interests. To identify the interests, put yourself in the other person's shoes: Why would he or she take such a position? Does any aspect of your proposal conflict with those interests?

3. Options -- Work with the other party to generate a variety of options. Separate the brainstorming from the decision-making process. Look for areas of agreement by identifying shared interests, and for ways to dovetail differing interests by exploring options that are of low cost to you and high value to the other party, and vice versa.

4. Criteria -- Insist upon negotiating within mutually agreed-upon standards of fairness. These criteria may range from current market value to procedures for resolving conflict, and will bear...