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Influencing Strategy: Negotiation

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Back in December there was a blog written on the influencing strategies persuasion and reciprocation. Earlier there was a blog on the five ways of handling a conflict. In this blog we will tackle negotiations.

When a situation arises where persuading with facts and emotional connection work, use the persuasion strategy. When you have something, you can barter with, then you can use the reciprocating strategy. When the situation escalates into an argument, you can use the conflict resolution strategy as long it gives you a favorable outcome. But what if this situation cannot be worked out by the three strategies just mentioned? Then you look into negotiating.

Negotiation is performed between two opposing parties, having a common interest in resolving the issue and so they decide then to collaborate in order to achieve a win-win solution. This method is similar to the conflict resolution strategy of collaboration.

A negotiation works best when both parties are on an equal footing. Think of the situation being a 3-edged knife. There is your side, their side, and the final negotiated side. When the negotiation is not on equal footing, then you are either the party that assimilates the other party; or the party that is getting assimilated (just like the Borg in Star trek). In this case, there really isn’t any negotiating.

Each party in a negotiation wants to win. In fact, they will tell themselves that they will accept nothing less than their way. But time is money and in the majority of negotiations the issue is an obstacle creating a “limbo status” until it is resolved. So, the longer the negotiations last, the more the parties see their initial win attitude dwindle. This is why when you find yourself in a negotiation, you should have your BATNA prepared. BATNA stands for “Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement”.

It is never a good thing to wing a negotiation or start one being unprepared. If you want to win, do your homework! Planning makes it a less bumpy ride. In fact, since there is a big chance you got into the argument with the other party, you know more information about them than you think. Take a sheet of paper and pen to plan the following steps:

1. Start by writing down the issue you are planning to negotiate.

2. If you know what the common interest is for resolving this issue from both parties, write it down.

3. Use a 4-blocker to help you document the issue. List in point form, the facts that back you up with your stance and then the wish list, which is what you want to see happening but don’t necessarily have facts to back you up. Do the same for the other party based on what you know from your initial encounter.

4. Circle any commonalities you see between parties.

5. Based on the information in front of you, create your BATNA which should be your next best option or non-negotiable resolution. Remember that the best case is getting what you want, and the worst case is the other party getting what they want.

6. Be psychologically prepared to negotiate so you are in control of your actions. This means being in control of your emotional state. You can use the SCARF™ method to help you.

7. Go negotiate!

When you enter the negotiations, you want to use a similar approach with the other party, if they agree:

1. Start by writing down the issue you are both going to negotiate.

2. If you know what the common interest is for resolving this issue from both parties, write it down.

3. Use a 4-blocker to help visualize the issue. Each party lists their facts and wish list.

4. Circle any commonalities you see between parties. Use these as your talking points to start putting together a collaborative approach.

5. As pieces of the resolution get agreed upon, continue looking for commonality or shared interest for each piece until the final outcome manifests itself as the whole of the pieces.

6. If there are some pieces that tend to be problematic, then take the approach of brainstorming new options that are not on the 4-blocker. See if any can be agreed by both parties.

7. Get agreement with the final negotiated resolution.

We hope you found this learning valuable to you. Subscribe for free so you do not miss upcoming articles.

Want to read inspirational stories that make you think? go to our Anna & Dude series.

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