What makes the difference between success and failure around the negotiating table?
The art of managing a complex negotiation process is the ultimate skill in the fields of diplomacy and international relations. This report will consider the key concepts both newcomer and veteran negotiators or mediators would do well to bear in mind. Each negotiation has its own features but there is one universal truth: the final outcome depends not only on our own performance and behavior, but also on the other party’s. No one can fully control the negotiating process, but it is possible to maximize the opportunity for success.
When we negotiate, our main goal is to maximize the value that we get. But, in order to do so, we need to ask ourselves how much each element of the eventual deal is worth. In international relations and in other walks of life, value is a matter of perspective; each individual, country or organization will place a different value on each item according to their own standards and circumstances. Taken to an extreme, we could ask how much our lives are worth. To us, and hopefully to our families, they are worth everything; but to a stranger, this is probably far from true. What value should be placed on a piece of land in the middle of the desert? If it is a religious site, then it is worth a lot to those who follow that religion, and possibly very little to others who do not. When we know that something is extremely valuable to somebody else, we realize that we can claim something in exchange, and this is where negotiations begin.
First and foremost, preparation for negotiation means truly knowing your own objectives: What do I really want? How much am I willing to pay? What are my true priorities? What are my dealbreakers? What are my alternatives?
Preparation in a negotiation involves understanding two key concepts: interests and objectives. Interests are our real needs and motivation, while objectives are our more tangible goals: what results am I trying to achieve in this particular negotiation? Preparation means, first, proper consideration of our own situation: what do I really want? How much am I willing/can I afford to pay? What are my true priorities? What are my ‛must have’ and my ‘nice to have’ elements? What are my dealbreakers? What are my alternatives? In other words, what is my backup plan in case this negotiation fails? What am I going to do or say?
If you would like to learn more about how to become a better negotiator discover more by downloading our guide. Here you will find hand-on tips and real world examples that will teach the basics on becoming a successful negotiator.