Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Negotiations is a vast and complex issue. One often hears “It all depends” when it comes to techniques to handle successfully a given negotiation. Fortunately, there are some basics conceived by brilliant minds. William Ury describes them in his “Getting Past No” book – a “bible” in the field. Basically it all boils down to 5 “don’ts”. The challenge is that none of them is really  a “natural” act – our “inefficiency” as negotiators is often explained by our incapacity to get rid of “bad habits” that go back as far as our childhood.

1. Don’t react: GO TO THE BALCONY
2. Don’t argue: STEP TO THEIR SIDE
3. Don’t reject: REFRAME
5. Don’t escalate: USE POWER TO EDUCATE.

If you think back on the latest negotiation you had, do you recall doing the following?
1.       Have you distanced yourself from natural impulses & emotions, recognized the tactic of the negotiation partner (stone walls, attacks, tricks), identified your “hot buttons”, avoid to take important decisions on the spot?
2.       Have you listened actively to your negotiation partner, acknowledged their point, agreed (wherever you could), acknowledged the person, expressed your views (without provoking via “Yes … and “ statements), created favorable climate for negotiation?
3.       Have you asked problem-solving questions “Why?", “Why not?”, “What makes that faire?”, negotiated about the Rules of the Game, applied reframe tactics (go around stone walls, deflect attacks, expose tricks)?
4.       Have you taken into consideration possible obstacles to agreement (not their idea, unmet interests, fear of losing face) and made the outcome look like a victory to them?
5.       Did you aim for mutual satisfaction, not Victory? Even when you could win, did you negotiate, did you use legitimate means, did you let them chose…

If you did all of the above, was the outcome of your negotiation satisfactory? If not, who do you think is to blame (yourself or the theoretical framework described)?