Understanding the Basics of Negotiation


Negotiation is the process of settling disputes using different views and objectives. Whether you are a natural negotiator in your own right or you have to improve your skills, understanding the basics can help you learn how to construct and assert value as well as handle fairness concerns to achieve a successful outcome.

Before entering into a negotiation you should have clearly defined and concise goals for your desired outcomes as well as the information and research that will support these goals. This will allow you to anticipate possible counterarguments, and develop a strategic plan to ensure success.

It is also crucial to understand the other parties’ interests, including their needs, desires and concerns to be able to anticipating potential objections. Additionally, you must be able to articulate clearly your personal interests, and the motives for these interests. By doing so you will appear more credible and persuasive.

Additionally, you should be willing, within reason to compromise. It’s not a good idea to take a rigid position at the beginning of negotiations as it can be perceived as a lackluster approach to reaching an agreement. Instead, offer to compromise on something that you appreciate, but only if the other party shares your interests.

Knowing your walk-away point (your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, also known as BATNA) in mind is a important aspect of preparing for negotiations. This will allow you to decide when to close the discussion. If the other side is stuck in their position it is unlikely that you will continue to engage in the hope of reaching an agreement.