Tweaks for Exceptional Negotiations
Negotiation is a skill that extends throughout all industries and even within common life interactions. While negotiation is often associated with business deals, the truth is everyone uses negotiation whenever a mutual agreement is pursued. In order to improve this ever-important skill, there are several different “tweaks” that, when applied, can better help seal the deal.
On a broad scale, there are essentially two approaches to negotiation, distributive and integrative. Distributive negotiation is a winner takes all mentality, where the individual attempts to claim the maximum amount of share in order to place himself or herself in the best overall position. Integrative negotiation, however, is a more compromising approach that emphasizes human interaction. More specifically, integrative negotiation focuses on negotiating solutions that meet the needs of all parties – especially over time.
Professor Deepak Malhotra describes it more eloquently, “Negotiation is not about dollars and cents, and it's not about deal terms… At the end of the day, negotiation is fundamentally about human interaction. The question we are always trying to answer as negotiators is how do we engage with people in such a way as to achieve better understandings and better agreements.”
Deepak Malhotra is an award-winning Professor of Negotiations at Harvard Business School. In a presentation with CNBC, Malhotra outlined 22 specific tactics to better improves negotiations. Below are a few of these tactics; anyone interested in learning some negotiation tweaks should view his full presentation and assess what skills to newly apply and which to further reinforce.
Understand and respect the restraints of the opposing side
Attempt to view the deal from the perspective of the opposing side. If your offer is denied, it is not because they are irrational or untrustworthy; you may not know the constraints by which they operate. Ask questions and educate your offer to better gauge their reasoning.
If an ultimatum is presented, discuss the details surrounding the offer, but ignore the ultimatum all together
Ultimatums are usually a tactic to regain control in negotiations. This power grab does not often represent the best end result for both parties. Recognize their redline and respond with a future-oriented discussion on what is in their interests.
Tell the truth - Always
Everyone has the capacity to be more ethical. Most people lie in negotiations, not because they're actively deceptive, but because they aren't prepared or impatient. There will be a day in the future where your credibility is your only leverage, so protect it and characterize yourself as an honest negotiator.