The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
INLS 131-1 October 24, 1996
(c) Evelyn Daniel
Whether you're a member of some sort of team or not, you'll need
to negotiate something sooner or later. Here are the basics
to successful win-win personal negotiation via the principled
approach from Daniel Burnstein, an associate of the Harvard negotiation
program and president of Beacon Expert Systems in Brookline, MA.
1. Before the negotiation begins:
- Prepare a list of your alternatives to the deal on the table.
If you are meeting for a final job interview, for example, go
in with two other job offers. With your next-best options clearly
in mind, you can be more objective.
- List your interests. Do not be trapped by your rigid
positions. You may be pleasantly surprised that your interests
can be met in a way you had not anticipated.
- Analyze the personality types of the others who will be negotiating,
if possible. If these are your teammates or someone else you know,
you may be able to anticipate their key interests and how they
will approach the negotiation.
- Gather support documentation, including audiovisual materials,
that will help communicate your points.
2. As the negotiation starts:
- Establish the agenda and ground rules. Besides setting a businesslike
tone for the discussion, these preliminaries may provide some
clues about the attitudes and approaches of the other party.
- Don't rush to make the first demand -- you may forget to listen
to the other party's interests.
- Listen to what is and what is not said while you explore
the interests and concerns of the other party.
- Ask questions to confirm or update your assumptions and understandings.
3. Early in the negotiation:
- Clarify the key interests of each party. Seek to understand
their needs, not just their positions.
- Determine the authority of each party. Specifically, find
out who makes the decisions.
- Define presumptions and expectations. For example, is there
a deadline or budget to be met?
- Gather details about competing alternatives.
- Specify what alternatives will satisfy each party, if you
cannot reach an agreement.
4. As the negotiation proceeds:
- Brainstorm creative options that satisfy each party's interests.
Consider new ways to meet needs, including ways to expand or extend
- Do not judge or dismiss the new options that are generated;
they may spur additional creative thinking.
- Highlight objective facts to bolster your case while questioning
the shortcomings or significance of the other party's data. For
example: "Is my product really the most expensive, considering
the value of the superior warranty, higher resale value and lower
frequency of repair?"
- Let the other party know you have alternatives.
5. At the end of the negotiation:
- Have a win-win solution. If you have been successful, your
interests have been satisfied well and the other party's interests
have been satisfied at least in an acceptable way.
- Devise a "compliance-prone" agreement. This means
everyone has an incentive to implement the agreement. There also
should be negative consequences for noncompliance.
- Clarify everyone's responsibilities.
- Document the agreements and obtain sign-offs by decision makers.
- Stay in touch with the other party while the agreement is
implemented. In general, try to counterbalance everyone's desire
to get what they want by creating additional opportunities. This
way, perhaps all parties will get their most important needs met.
When you're negotiating with difficult people, avoid responding
to provocations. Instead, ask them how their solutions
will solve the problem. And, finally, don't take anything personally!