Path to enduring agreements: build trusting relationships; share interests; create value as you address interests; distribute that value.
Refresh Your Negotiation Techniques
By Marianne Eby
Spring is the time we shed our winter slump by enjoying the sunshine and returning to the fundamentals of gardening, and the beauty it brings. It is the perfect time to refresh your negotiation techniques as well, by returning to the fundamentals that inform how you turn conflicting goals into opportunities for reaching agreement. To do this I re-read the 1980s classic, ‘Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’ by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton.
The point that resonated with me this time was ‘Negotiators are people first’. Working in a fast- paced corporate environment where people are focused on results, and forever pushing to meet a deadline, we often forget that we are going through ‘micro-level’ negotiations daily. Negotiation skills are useful in far more situations than just formal contracts. Whether answering your supplier’s questions, checking in on a customer, or discussing issues with your supervisor, recognize that your discussions are often hidden negotiations, and you are negotiating with people. People have ego and emotions, and give more to people they like and trust.
Success at these daily micro-negotiations requires that we spend time building relationships founded in trust, understanding, and respect. “Failing to deal with others sensitively as human beings prone to human reactions can be disastrous for a negotiation.” (Getting to Yes, p. 19). It only takes a few negative interactions to override an otherwise positive connection. For some reminders about building and maintaining good business relationships, check out this blog entry I came across: How to build business relationships.
This spring challenge yourself to be a better negotiator by returning to the fundamentals. And remember to use your daily micro-negotiations as opportunities to build positive relationships with people, the very people with whom you will likely be negotiating issues, big and small.
If you have time to read or re-read ‘Getting to Yes’, you’re likely to find some good reminders. Refresh!