Almost every one, sooner or later would find himself/herself in a situation where he has to negotiate for the things he likes and wants.
Negotiations are part of our lives. The fact is that right from the early life, negotiations are forced upon us. As a child we are asked of a certain behavior in exchange for toys/sweets/ an outing /a movie etc. etc. Same is true when we are teenagers or adults. We negotiate and trade for the things and services we want in exchange for what the other party wants.
As negotiations are part social, personal and business life, it would help if we understood the process of negotiations and how to handle such situations for a successful outcome. Here are the fine points:
1. Negotiations is a process by which two or more than two parties, with different needs and wants try to find an acceptable resolution to satisfy their needs and wants.
2. Though the interests, needs and wants are different for the parties involved, the process should not be viewed and approached as unpleasant.
3. Parties involved should be committed to have a resolution of the issues. It is impossible to negotiate with those who are not ready to negotiate and resolve the issues.
4. Party negotiating, should have access to the data, facts and figures that are relevant to the negotiations prior and during the negotiations.
5. In negotiations, one should remain open and flexible. Unfortunately, many negotiations fail simply because, the parties involved view the term flexibility, applicable to the other side only.
6. Negotiations should be conducted with an open mind and without preconceived ideas and positions.
7. The process should not be confrontational for a friendly resolution of the issues.
8. At the beginning of the negotiations, the rough guidelines of the negotiations and the results to be achieved should be established. These should remain the guidelines and not the hard line positions.
9. One should try to establish as to what and why the other party wants. Try to understand their point of view. Your position and what you are prepared to give, should remain confidential to the last minute for successful negotiations.
10. Business negotiations should be approached as pure business. One should never approach it as a compromise of ones principles as such stand will not be healthy for a successful outcome.
11. Never state or view the outcome of negotiations as a win or loss. Both parties should be able to see it as a win-win scenario.
12. Try to detach your self from the issue of personalities involved in the issues. Stay focused upon the issues and commitment to have a resolution through negotiations.
13. At all levels of negotiations, give attention to the body language; that is not listening to only what is said and proposed but keenly observing how it is said and proposed.
14. For a successful, pleasant and lasting results of the outcome of negotiations, especially where the parties involved are likely to face each other in day today life, the resolution of negotiations should be without undue pressure. It should be fair and mutually rewarding.
15. One must understand that in many situations, the parties involved may have to justify the results of negotiations to others who are affected by the outcome. Allow them enough reasons to feel good about the results achieved.
16. Before the process of negotiations begin, all parties involved should know as to what the other party wants and the reasons for their concerns and wants.
17. Have several options, for the negotiations to be successful. For every option, point out to the other side the benefits of the proposal and how acceptance of the proposal could help them also.
18. Be prepared to revise your stand and make modified proposals and point out not only the benefits of the proposal but also the consequences, if your proposal is not accepted. Make sure such details are not perceived as threats by the other side, otherwise it could do a serious damage to the atmosphere of negotiations.
19. Negotiations should be conducted in a calm and friendly and unemotional manner for a successful outcome. Parties involved should not be under undue stress or pressure to reach a decision as one is likely to behave illogically and make negotiations difficult and the resolution unlikely.
20. Negotiations should be conducted with mutual respect and without anger, abuse or hurting other side’s pride or social position.
21. Parties involved should be able to devote full and uninterrupted attention to the negotiations.
22. If the negotiations involve complex issues which are beyond the scope of the parties negotiating, experts and consultants should be immediately available for consultations.
23. For negotiations to be successful there must be a time limit to the negotiations to achieve results. The set time limit should be reasonable and acceptable to all the parties and should be established before the negotiations begin. Negotiations involving several issues and of complex nature would need more time and should be allocated the time frame accordingly.
24. Do not lose hope or enthusiasm if the progress during negotiations appears slow. In most negotiations, agreements are reached during the tail end of the negotiations.
25. If your point is lost among the different issues and concerns, do not lose cool, simply restate your position calmly and ask for the response.
26. Try to negotiate one point at a time and not the whole as one issue…that is to negotiate one issue as if no other issues exist.
27. Tackle easy issues first where there is likely to be a meeting of mind and then build on the success of these to negotiate more difficult points.
28. While making certain demands, do explain what they are and why do you want those? Also make sure at every stage that the other side understands exactly what you want to convey, and what you are prepared to give for getting your demands fulfilled.
29. Keep some trump cards to rescue the negotiations, if they hit some serious setbacks.
30. For a lasting outcome of the negotiations (except for those cases where the outcome finishes further interaction, for example in cases such as buying / selling a property, where legal contract binds the people and there need not be any further interaction) parties involved should be allowed a reasonable time, to digest the terms and benefits of the proposed outcome of the negotiations before agreeing to accept the final outcome of negotiations. If it is not allowed and one party feels that the other side has taken advantage of them, they will hold a grudge against others. This is likely to breed the feelings of distrust and make the environment hostile. Going forward, negotiations of any future tradeoffs / conflicts will become extremely difficult
31. Both real and perceived values of the outcome of the negotiations should be a Win-Win scenario.
32. If negotiations do not bring out a successful resolution, do not blame the other side or an individual for the failure in public. It should be avoided in private also as it is likely to create an atmosphere of hostility and jeopardize any future settlements.