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Successful Negotiators

Successful negotiators often perform well by using these tactics.

Desire to Achieve a Mutual Agreement

This is paramount to success. Both parties must want to develop a mutual (verses one-sided) agreement. As discussed earlier, negotiators temperament or even circumstances will play a role in obtaining a win-win agreement. Both parties need to consider and mutually respect the other viewpoint, even if it is a point to be negotiated.

  • Avoid deadlock. A deadlock occurs when an agreement is not made. Early in the process, the parties involved decide what will be the next step if a decision is not made. Potential alternatives include taking a brief caucus before resuming negotiations. Both the buying and selling organization should have drafted a BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement) before the negotiations started. Knowing the alternative before it is needed may reduce emotions and encourage listening to the other viewpoint.
  • Ask questions. Although both parties conducted analysis before the negotiations started, asking questions will demonstrate interest and reduce the potential to make assumptions that are not true.
  • Listen more than talk. Listen then speak. Listening may help reduce anxiety and increase understanding. Listening to another person may solve a problem or help discover a solution that was not considered earlier.

Take Breaks

Breaks were discussed earlier and may be for physical needs including standing and stretching after negotiating for a long period. Breaks are also needed for mental reasons to consider progress both positive and what needs improvement.

  • Caucus. A brief caucus may be needed for a team of people to discuss an issue in privacy and without the other party.

Stay Focused

Having the desire to reach an agreement, reviewing a predetermined agenda, mutually deciding the order of topics to discuss and taking breaks will contribute to keeping the parties (individuals and\or teams) focused. Having a plan of how to react when a new and unexpected topic is introduced, or when a deadlock occurs, will help keep the negotiators focused. If a team is involved, be sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities at the negotiating table.

Find Creative, Mutual Agreement

This exhibit started with mutual agreement, and coming full circle it is concluding with mutual agreement. The addition is to be creative and flexible. Asking the three critical questions helps uncover potential solutions that may not have been previously considered.

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