Although negotiations are essentially just conversations with other like-minded individuals, such as coworkers, clients, business partners or anyone else, it is important to walk into these conversations fully prepared. There are a number of different tactics and strategies that leaders can use to help all parties walk away satisfied, enabling them to get the best outcome from their perspective. Here are a few of the tactics they can utilize:
1. Stay a step or two ahead
Picture negotiations as a dance between two people or parties – if executives want to take a commanding position in the conversation, they need to lead negotiations. The best way to do this is by constantly staying one or two steps ahead of the others involved in the discussion.
Staying ahead of the conversation comes with being prepared for negotiations before entering into these conversations. Participants should understand their organization’s values, why they are interacting with the other party, how they want to be treated and the ideal outcome of the conversation they are about to enter. From there, they can guide the negotiations how they deem fit.
2. Be able to state positions clearly
Negotiations often start with both parties laying down their needs and discussing their expectations of the negotiations. If business leaders are not able to clearly state their positions at the outset, it can lead to an unproductive conversation as it will necessitate back-tracking.
It is crucial that negotiators not only know their position in advance, but are also able to articulate it well in the first place. This will help them move forward with the conversation instead of having to go back to ground zero to clarify different points.
3. Be aware of potential conflicts in advance
Although negotiations should never be perceived as being antagonistic or confrontational, they will likely come to a point where the two parties disagree on a specific term. By mapping out potential points of conflict in advance, negotiators will be better prepared to deal with these barriers.
By being prepared, negotiators can quickly move around obstacles and past barricades. These blocks have the potential to be major sticking points if they are not addressed promptly, so the more quickly participants can navigate these obstacles, the less resistance they will encounter and the lower chances that negotiations will be derailed.
4. Match alternative currencies with other participants
In negotiations, each side likely has their own set of needs that do not align with the demands of the other party. These different needs should be thought of as currencies that need to be matched until both parties are ready to settle for less or give more.
Once that basic understanding has been hammered down and the currencies have been agreed upon, they can begin to move into the next phase of negotiations, which includes a recording of the agreement that can be signed and implemented.