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Five Tips for Establishing Effective Negotiations

Negotiations are a big part of our everyday lives.  Whether we are at work with dealing with employees and clients, or at home spending time with family and friends, we are regularly put in situations where we are negotiating some sort of arrangement.  With that being the case, being able to manage effective negotiations can have a very positive in what we are able to achieve.


Below are some tips that can help to improve negotiations:


1.  Identify the Item Being Negotiated

The first step when negotiating is to identify the problem or item that is being negotiated.  It is very common for two parties to be on different pages in terms of what they view the negotiation to be about.  This can have a very negative impact on the direction that the negotiation takes and the first step toward effective negotiating is to clearly define and identify the item being negotiated.

This can involve working with the other party to get agreement on what exactly is being negotiated.  By getting this clarification and agreement on the front-end, you can set the path and probability for effective negotiations.


2.  Agree on the Process

Using some sort of process and structure can help greatly to produce quality negotiations.  If a negotiation process is used, it is very helpful to share with the other party what the process is, how it works, and get agreement on using it to manage the negotiation.



3.  Identify Interests

One of the key steps to building effective negotiations is to identify both parties’ interests.  Interests are the core of what drives the items that each party is asking for.  A prospect might be asking for a large discount, but the interest driving that request is actually that they are trying to improve profitability or trying to operate inside of a fixed budget.

To identify the interests involved, dig to a deeper level below what each party is asking for to reach the drivers for what each side wants and is requesting.  By having this information outlined and agreed to by each party, a good foundation will be built for establishing healthy negotiations.


4.  Identify Alternatives to a Negotiated Agreement

When we are negotiating something with another party, we will always have some sort of alternative to turn to if we do not reach an agreement.  An alternative to establishing an agreement could be making a deal with someone else or could also include doing nothing.

For effective negotiations, it is very important to understand what the next best thing would be if you do not reach an agreement or decided to walk away.  Knowing what this is for your side, as well as for the other party, will greatly increase your position during the negotiation and provide clarity as to what you should do.


5.  Separate the Person from the Problem

Negotiations can often get emotional.  And with individual personalities on each side of the negotiation, the negotiation can often get personal.  This is evident when we add in our feelings toward the parties on the other side and this can impact how we handle the negotiation and what we do.

It can be very helpful to separate the people on the other side from the item that is being negotiated.  You do not have to ignore any of the challenges or conflicts that exist with the other party, but it can be helpful to separate those from how you handle and react to the item being negotiated during the negation process.


*Source: Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury
*Source: Essentials of Negotiation, Roy Lewicki, Bruce Barry, David Suanders




Launch Pad Solutions provides negotiations training helping sales professionals to establish effective negotiations.



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This article was published on Saturday 26 March, 2011.
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