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An introduction to negotiation fundamental principles and techniques
28.07.2021 | Constantin Crețu

Constantin Crețu

Constantin Crețu

In general, what is negotiation? It is a way of reaching an agreement in conflict situation between two people or two companies that results in each negotiator getting something that they feel is fair.

At the same time, it is important to mention that:

– The human and relational factor, which is difficult to transcribe into a standard procedure.
– An abandonment of the long – term in the favor of the short term, generally because short term is increasingly favored to point pressure felt by companies, and certain negotiation practices are aggressive and dishonest, even if this is to the detriment of the long term.
– Furthermore, some companies do not hesitate to lie or to use threats during negotiations. During a negotiation, otherwise we should make a distinction between strategy, tactics and negotiation techniques Strategy consist in determining the general issue at stake in general terms. This is the official objective to be achieved once we are out of negotiation.

First strategy, intransigence. You hold your initial position without ever backing down on anything and until the other side agrees. An interesting fact that this strategy was used by Margaret Thatcher in England, ordinarily against the strikers. The aim is to make the other side bend under pressure: either the other side accepts the proposal or there is no agreement. This strategy will be helpful for whoever leads this strategy and it can work, or the forces are balanced and, unless there is a stroke of luck, it is unlikely to succeed.

Second strategy: systematic concessions. This strategy consists in accepting the demands of the other side, usually without asking for anything in return. It is important to point that this strategy will work in the case if we are subjected to a balance of power. But this is not a real negotiation because you accept everything.

One of the most accomplished mode of negotiation is competition. It is important to choose this mode because:

– It relates to the natural psychological functioning of humans, which can be possessive, aggressive and violent.
– When one of the parties has balance of the power in his favor, he will get more through competitive negotiation.
– It is a condition sine qua non for a successful negotiation for both parties, when one negotiator has already entered a competition, the opposite negotiator will also enter a competition to balance the power. [1]

It is something logic because every time one of the parties bargaining power, as a result these forcing other negotiator to do the same. In the fact cooperation create a trust, it is a strategy in which the gains will be shared. There are variants of semi – cooperative negotiation depending on whether one or the other cooperate for the short – term gain or even when one negotiator doubts the sincerity of the other from the outset.

Last one type of strategy is semi – cooperation it is a kind of competition that not succeed when the protagonists want to find a solution, because there is a common purpose, which can be to fight against very aggressive competitors. One of the factors that can help you to maintain this semi – cooperative mode is to define, express and make the parties to accept a point of convergence between the parties, and this point of convergence will be recalled when it is felt that negotiation in a “competition” strategy could appear. [2]

In my opinion competition is the default negotiation strategy. I feel this way for several reasons one of it and the most important is the positive relationships that you may have between the parties. So, the most reasonable will be cooperative strategy.

Once we discussed the strategy that has been chosen: competition, cooperation or semi – cooperation, we have to choose negotiation tactics. First one is named the tactic of point – by- point negotiation. This kind of negotiation tactic is divided into two different ways: either one negotiate point by point, or negotiate comprehensively, taking all the points to be negotiated as whole. First one negotiation involves negotiating each point one after the other and only moving to the next negotiating point has been agreed to by everyone.

Negotiation techniques are the way that you will manage the face-to-face interaction to achieve a very short term result. It really important to know all and to choose that is most appropriate for us. Knowing them will help you to negotiate better understanding of what the other side is doing when they negotiate with you.

First one retain and perceive factual information, [3] this mean that you will provide something factually to show the other side your proposal and certainly it should be accepted. It is important to point bibliographic reference; it will be considered as a proof that you give. For instance: you can say: “A Transgaz Group study published in April 2020 showed that west part grows up sales with 15% which will allow possibility to sustain east part.” Subsequently it is essential to justify an external and recognized source of information. Sometimes interlocutor will try to inquire source of information and your proposal may be rejected. Despite you can say “We made an overlook west part grows up with 15% which will allow possibility to sustain east part”, but information is not credible because you generate it. People will that you have to do say: “Sorry, it is not my cup of tea”.

This negotiation technique works well if you bring a real added value to your interlocutor, because the quasi-scientific proof that you are going to bring could reassure him.

Secondly, be charming it is essential to know some psychology in human relations. Being liked or loved can be as important as arguing well. Moreover, we should recognize that people have a dose of subjective appreciation.

Sympathy it is not only personal characteristic but also a negotiation technique. Otherwise, your interlocutor will accept things just because he likes you and find you sympathetic, and he will work will you just because you are more sympathetic whereas someone is less.

I will give some hints:

  1. You must smile easily;
  2. Remember first name and last name;
  3. The tone of your voice should be cheerful and dynamic;
  4. Do not hesitate to put in evidence similarities between you and other side. Both may be passionate by NASCAR or Moto GP. This is the classic way of making yourself appreciated.

Mainly the next time you enter into negotiation for the first time, try to find common points with other negotiator and get them to talk about subjects they are passionate about. In particular, find out about social networks and find out what they like to talk about: talk about NASCAR with NASCAR enthusiasts and so on.

Furthermore, be interesting and convincing, [4] with stories not only charm it is appreciated as a person, if the person cannot make a conversation which not attracts. You will need a strong speech that can be structured in four parts:

  1. You can start by describing factual day such as something from today.
  2. Next, you must describe problem and range of subject encountered by each parties.
  3. Thirdly, expose the consequences of not reaching contract.
  4. Last part and hardest one especially, accepting your proposal everyone wins.

A story does not guarantee anything, but it is often much more persuasive because of it is structure: location, problem, negative consequences if no agreement is reached, win, if other part accept your proposal. In addition, your stories can appeal to emotional part of people and as a result you will be able to move the negotiations in your favor.

Fourthly, use balance of power it is one of violent techniques of negotiation but you have to decide to win at expense of the other. As can be expected you are going to put pressure on your interlocutor. For instance, you create a stressful situation for other side before a week of your negotiation date, [5] with letter such as: “We appreciate your collaboration with our company, but our board decided to interrupt our team work. Naturally we will keep our appointment for next week to explain reasons and to allow you to adapt your offer if have this possibility”. Thus put so strong pressure on your interlocutor and is profitable in the shortest time cases. Purpose is to make other part to accept your new conditions. When there is a great imbalance of power, the strongest can use the balance of power to win a negotiation, but this is not always a good calculation in the very long term.

Despite legal ethics as technique of negotiation can be manipulation, it is camouflaged and its goal is to reach agreement in your favor. It happens when you change the perception of real life to get something using psychological techniques. First manipulation: Giving a false objective. It will make your interlocutor believe that you have a marvels point but in real time it represents little. Second manipulation to advise to not use something, but you know it should be used, in the fact you are lying. Third way to manipulate: showing disinterest it is a classical technique of behavior not only in negotiation but also in a relationship with girl. For instance, I you want to purchase a computer, don’t be so enthusiastic, you can say “I have two PC I do not need third one”. Otherwise say smoothing in this style “I don’t really need to buy it, but if the price was really good I am predisposed to buy it.” Your interlocutor will try to reach an agreement and he wants absolutely what you are proposing. Obviously manipulation techniques are debatable, especially lying, which can be discovered and it makes you to lose credibility.

Overall, try to be as factual possible, be charming, be interesting and convincing. If you are overwhelmed with information, take the time to make it your own and do not decide with your head down. In a negotiation, each of the parties hides important elements so that they can use them in the negotiation.

[1] Dr Philipe Massol, Negotiation (techniques) The fundamental principles, ed. SmartOwl.
[2] Ibidem.
[3] https://www.huthwaiteinternational.com/horizons/top-10-myths-in-negotiation
[4] https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/negotiation-skills-daily/famous-negotiators-feature-in-top-negotiations-of-2012/
[5] https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/negotiation-skills-daily/5-good-negotiation-techniques/

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