Tyna-Minet Anderson of the Anderson Wood Law Group shared insights about how to reach mutually beneficial agreements effectively.
Most of your negotiating power comes from the amount of preparation you put in before the negotiation begins.
Before the negotiation:
- Figure out possible options.
- Include your best case scenario, a realistic scenario, and your walk-away point.
- Identify what your best alternative is to a negotiated agreement.
- Identify the other party’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
- Research objective criteria.
- If possible, learn about the negotiator on the other side.
- Find out his or her negotiating styles.
- Try to build a personal relationship before the negotiations.
- Come up with wording that you can use if you need to walk away.
- Consider wording for if you want to stop negotiating completely (“This is my final offer, take it or leave it.”)
- Consider language that will allow you to step away for a day or two to think about it.
During the negotiation:
- Invent Options for mutual gain.
- Insist on using objective criteria.
- Focus on Interests, not positions.
- Do not try to defend your positions. Consider asking for their suggestions based on objective criteria .
- Separate the people from the problem.
- Do not get offended or take things the other side says personally. Figure out how to change personal attacks to an attack on the problem.
- Use questions more than statements.
- Don’t be afraid to use silence, but don’t use it as your only method of negotiating.
- Identify your reasons for rejecting their offer before stating that you are rejecting it
If they try to use dirty tricks, identify what they are doing and stop negotiating the issues. Instead, negotiate the rules of the game. If they persist and it is a serious issue, consider bringing in a third-party neutral to mediate the situation.