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The trick to recognizing an opportunity for productive negotiation is sensing when intervention will help both parties reach an agreement. Once you understand that you don’t have to accept every situation as it is, you’ll begin to recognize opportunities to resolve conflict, make a deal, obtain a better understanding, or achieve desired goals almost every day.

Building Ongoing Relationships

In order to build strong, long-lasting relationships, you must always work to achieve an outcome in your negotiations that is agreeable to both parties. Otherwise, you can damage a potentially long-term relationship in exchange for a short-term benefit. The importance and priority of a relationship need to be taken into account in any negotiation situation.

Bargain with Positions and Interests in Mind

It’s important to distinguish what someone wants (their position) and why they want it (their interest). Keeping these two things in mind will help you develop a workable negotiation strategy that will help you achieve results that make everyone happy.

Find the Middle Ground

A natural instinct during negotiation is either to yield to the other person’s will or to compete for your own interests. However, compromise is a great alternative and also saves face for both sides in a negotiation. Look for the middle ground that will appeal to all parties.

Remember the Fairness Factor

It’s much easier for both parties to come to a solution if everyone feels this solution is fair. Here’s how:

1. Determine what is “fair” for both parties

2. Address the motives for using certain tactics

3. Summarize how far you have come in the negotiation

4. Review common ground and areas of agreement

5. Divide the issue into parts

6. Explore the best and worst alternatives to negotiating an acceptable agreement

Obtain Information for Conflict Resolution

In any negotiation, remember that it is the problem that needs to be resolved – not the people who need to be changed. If you have the necessary information and you focus on the problem at hand (not the people), common sense will prevail and chances of successful collaboration increase.

Wrapping It Up

Inevitably, deadlock will sometimes occur in negotiations. Take a break. Allow both parties to step away and refocus. When both parties reconvene, stay focused on the main goal, not on the issue that caused the deadlock. And once the issue is resolved or the deal is closed, don’t forget to celebrate, acknowledging the efforts of everyone involved!


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