Understanding the Basics of Negotiation

Negotiation is the process of settling disputes based on differing views and goals. Whether you are a natural born negotiator or you need to improve your skills knowing the basics will aid you in learning how to create and claim value, manage fairness concerns and get a positive outcome.

You should prepare for the negotiation by defining your objectives and obtaining the necessary information and data to accomplish them. This allows you to anticipate counterarguments and develop strategies to succeed.

It is also important to know the other party’ interests, including their desires, needs and fears in order to anticipating potential objections. You must also be able to express your own preferences and the motivations behind them. You will appear more credible and convincing.

Finally, you should be able to compromise, within reason. Taking an inflexible position at the start of negotiations is usually not the best approach, as this could be interpreted as a lack of desire to reach an agreement. Instead, you should be willing to compromise on something that you value, but only if the other party shares your interests.

Another important element of preparation for negotiations is to know your walk-away point (your BATNA, or best alternative to a bargained deal). This will allow you to determine when to end the discussion. If the other party is stuck in their position it is unlikely that you will continue to try to negotiate in the hope of negotiating an agreement.


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