Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.
Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.

The Negotiation Skills Company -- Newsletter April 2007

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The occasional newsletter of
The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (TNSC)

Number 37, April 2007

The occasional newsletter of The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (TNSC)

The 'Never, Never, Never' Rule

There are many rules about negotiation that reflect common sense. One of the toughest requires more than just common sense, it requires that a negotiator have a clear sense of the interests being pursued in the negotiation.

Normally people figure that if they want something, that's a good enough reason to stick with the goal they have chosen. This approach is the basis of what is called positional bargaining. When a person adopts and insists on a specific solution to a given problem, he or she has taken a position. The trouble is, when you lock yourself into a negotiating position, accepting a change may well mean losing face. When you adopt a position, it can be like painting yourself into a corner.

A good negotiator has to dig deeper and aim to understand why a particular objective will serve their interests. It can seem fairly easy to look at positions adopted by other negotiating party and make assumptions about what interests underlie their positions. Figuring out your own interests requires taking a cold-blooded analytical approach to yourself.

One simple way to get a better sense of what interests underlie your positions is to ask yourself why you choose to negotiate with a particular party. What can Acme offer me/my company that Apex does not? What kind of value can your negotiation partner add to the situation in which you find yourself? Figuring out the interests behind your positions helps you understand yourself better - and will help you recognize when another party's suggestion is a good way to solve the problem.

If you have a good sense of most of the interests of each negotiating party, you have a far better capacity to propose and/or accept solutions that will cinch the deal.

The negotiation process involved a great deal of give and take; part of the 'give' each negotiator ought to be prepared to offer is generally referred to as concessions. Remember this rule: Every concession must yield a reward. If you give something away without making another negotiator reward you for doing so, you risk devaluing your concession. If another party has to 'pay' to get you to offer a concession, the value of that concession is increased in their eyes and they are more likely to feel satisfied that they have gained something in return for their reward to you.

All this is introduction to a crucial rule that must be obeyed by all negotiators. In the give and take of negotiation, parties must be careful to recognize that, while it is possible to trade elements of solutions, trading away interests can cause one irremediable damage. Thus it is crucial to remember and act on this rule:

Never, Never, Never say or do anything that is contrary to your interests. Negotiators must be the best advocates for their interests. Once you have given away an interest, it is virtually impossible to get it back.

TNSC News: We continue to provide coaching and training to an extremely broad variety of organizations all over the world. Recently we discovered that our client list includes more than a dozen of the Fortune Magazine's list of the top 100 companies in the world. With certified trainers available across a broad geographic area, TNSC can provide services to clients virtually everywhere.

Steve Cohen has become a contributing writer to Capital M.E., an excellent business magazine published in Dubai.

We hope you will visit our constantly updated website. It contains responses to nearly 500 advice questions, information about our team and our programs, and other substantive 'goodies' you may enjoy.

If you have questions about TNSC or the services we offer, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Final Word

"There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish."
-- Mary Parker Follett

Good luck and good negotiating,
Steven P. Cohen, President
The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.

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