The Seven Laws of Negotiation will help you to organise your thinking whilst preparing for and during negotiations.
1.Be conscious of the difference between positions and interests. If you can figure out why you want something, and why others want their outcome, then you are in a much stronger position.
2. Be creative. Ask lots of effective questions to uncover the other party’s needs and emotional wants; listen to the sometimes outlandish statements and be open to unanticipated possibilities. These often will lead you to unexpected agreement opportunities. If you respond with new ideas and do the unexpected, you can open doors to far greater things than when you behave predictably. Creativity can make everyone look good.
3. Be fair. If people feel a process is fair, they are more likely to make real commitments and less likely to walk away planning ways to wriggle out of the agreement.
4. Be ready to commit. You shouldn’t make a commitment unless you can fulfill it. Your commitment isn’t worth much unless the parties to the negotiation are the decision makers. Moreover, commitment is not likely to result unless all parties feel the process has been fair. Remember that there may well be different definitions of the word ‘fair’. Your job as a Trusted Advisor is to find out what their definition is and make sure that you have fulfilled the requirements under their definition (within the boundaries of reasonableness).
5. Be an active listener. Focus on what others say, both on their words and their underlying meaning.
6. Be aware of the importance of the relationship. Most of your negotiation is with prospective clients or existing clients negotiating future business. It is therefore, important to remember to protect the rapport without compromising on the need to ask tough questions.
7. Be prepared. In order to negotiate effectively, efficiently and wisely, it is crucial to prepare. Your job is not to outline a perfect, total solution. Preparation means studying the interests of every possible party. It means understanding the short and the long-‐term consequences you use and the substantive results you pursue. Doing your homework can save a lot of time.
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