You get what you negotiate.

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Is negotiation necessary? Does it make you happier? Consider the following:

You meet an old friend at a bar, and casually while catching up he lets you know that he plans to buy a new watch and wishes to sell his current one. Curious you examine his watch, and take a fancy to it. When asked what is the price, he says, “Let me know what YOU will pay for it”. And you hesitate, and mention and amount (it does not matter what is the amount). He says Ok, it’s yours and you exchange money for the watch and shortly later you both leave.

Are you happy?

I bet not. You think so for the moment. However, back home you tell your spouse about the incident and you narrate the event. Your spouse asks, ‘how much did your friend want?’. You have no idea. It was you who suggested a price and he readily agreed. You are now left in some doubt, if indeed the watch is worth the price you paid.

Is your friend Happy?

Similarly, your friend is asked by his spouse, “what was he prepared to pay?’ You state the price he offered and she enquires, “Could you have asked for a higher price?’. You never did. You let it go at the first price. You are left wondering if indeed you had got a good deal.

So both are unhappy right? Remember, when you negotiate, and effectively, both sides are happy.

We are always in a negotiation

Every moment, either with ourselves or with others, we are negotiating. It’s not necessary that we are aware of this, (it may be unconscious) yet the fact is that we are doing so all the time. Pause and think about your day, and the various negotiations that come up.

In managing our relationships with the other, we are unconsciously trying to maximize the principle of maximum interest for ourselves. Most of us, aim for, “ I win, You lose’. In this strategy you lose in the long term. You may win a couple of rounds but you damage the relationship forever. At all points, you need to ‘keep change for the other side, always’. Ensure a ‘win-win’.

In management training, if you and your opponent play a blind game of voting Yes and No, simply follow his lead. Simply follow the following rule: ‘Play out his last move in the subsequent move’. Doing so, will get you both to a collaborative strategy.

While negotiation, we always believe that one side is in opposition to the other (adversarial): that may not be the case at all. What you ‘demand’ or ‘make concessions on’ may not be of the same value as perceived by the other. Most effective negotiators never give away anything without making a demand themselves, following the golden rule of, ‘If you xxxxx (give me) , then I zzzzz’(trade you).

Effective negotiators recognise each stage of negotiation and quickly move across the argument stage rather quickly, to the other steps. An argument just begets and argument and is pointless. Here is how most effective negotiators move through:

• Argument

• Signal

• Proposal

• Counter Proposal

• Bargaining

• Agreement

• Confirm Agreement

• Closure

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