Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Guidelines for Effective Negotiation

I have been editing some new material for inclusion in the project management for the professional series running on the Ndarala Group blog. This will start coming up shortly. In the meantime, I thought that one item was worth running here as a stand-alone check list.

Ten guidelines for effective negotiation:

1. Be prepared - know what outcome you want and why.

2. Minimise perceptual differences - ask questions to gain understanding.

3. Listen - questions are no good unless you listen to the answers.

4. Take notes - what has been agreed and what remains to be resolved.

5. Be creative - look for new solutions.

6. Help the other party.

7. Make trade-offs - trade what is cheap to you but valuable to the other party for what is valuable to you but cheap to the other party.

8. Be quick to apologise.

9. Avoid ultimatums.

10. Set realistic deadlines.


Charles H. Green said...

That's a good list; I particularly like ask questions, listen, and avoid ultimatums.

I'd add two more:
1. probe and find out what is really important to the other party;
2. be willing early on to let the other party know what's really important to you.

Too often in negotiations we are focused on the inevitable zero-sum kernel at the heart of negotiation, rather than focusing on the built-up complex mixture of benefits that allow a win-win. If you remember to make the pie bigger rather than fight over the piece, then you can afford to openly exchange views about what you each want.

Because: how are you going to get the other person to give you what you want if you won't tell them what it is that you want?

And vice versa.

Jim Belshaw said...

Charles, I thought that these were very good points.

To try to keep the check-list to ten, and recognising that there is no perfect answer, we could add your one into number 2 on questions.

Your number could be added into 6. Or it could be a main. In which case others have to change.

Perhaps I should do a new run taking your comments in and then repost it?