An executive’s ability to negotiate skillfully is important because typically, whether they realize it or not, they spends hours every week negotiating with subordinates, suppliers, lenders, significant others, children, parents, in-laws, car dealers, and others. Deciding how much to pay a new office manager or deciding where to go to lunch with a client involves negotiation. The office manager may choose to accept less money if 100% of health benefits are paid, while a client may agree to go for Mexican food if Chinese food will be the choice on the next occasion. Being a skillful negotiator requires patience, attentiveness, flexibility, and awareness of personal negotiation style, issues and details of the case, as well as the goals and objectives of the other party.
Negotiation can be described as nonviolent communication between two or more parties who may have conflicting and common interests in an attempt to reach an agreement that meets the goals of one or both parties. In simple terms, negotiation is a process for getting something you want. As Gary Karrass once said, “We don’t get what we want in this life, we get what we negotiate.”
Common misconceptions about negotiation
Many people are afraid to negotiate because of all the stereotypes associated with negotiation. Although business owners spend up to half their time at work negotiating, many still feel uncomfortable with the process. Some fear that they may come across as impolite, pushy, unfair, or even cheap to the other party.
One common stereotype about negotiation is that good negotiators use tactics similar to the stereotypical deceitful, conniving used car salesman. Being a good negotiator does not mean you have to resort to being a slick, smooth talker.
Contrary to popular belief, negotiating should not be compared to a game or a war in which both parties enter the process with the goal of winning and crushing the other party’s spirit. The end result of war or a game is that one party comes out as the clear winner and the other as the absolute loser. Upon completion of a successful negotiation, both parties should feel that they have won something.
Another reason business owners feel uncomfortable negotiating is because they feel they have to make trade-offs between getting along with the other side and getting what they want. It is not uncommon for business owners to feel that they have to give in to the other side’s demands or play hardball in order to avoid conflict, damaging their future relationship, or being taken advantage of by the other party.
Many people feel more relaxed when they find out that they will be negotiating with a woman because they assume that women are not as aggressive as their male counterparts and, therefore, cannot be as effective as negotiators. This is another common misconception. While women tend to be more concerned with preserving relationships and men with arriving at an agreement as quickly as possible, this is not always the case. Some men are patient and are more interested in achieving a deal that meets the needs of all parties while some women prefer to enter the negotiation with a competitive drive to win. Whether you are negotiating with women or men, you should always do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the members of the other team, develop a relationship with them, and alter your negotiation style, if necessary so that it resonates the other team’s personality. Primary goal of negotiation
Negotiation is neither like a game nor war. It is about cooperation and signing an agreement that makes both parties feel that they have been successful. The primary goal of effective negotiation should be to achieve a deal that both parties can live with and that accomplishes your goals without making the other party walk away from the deal or harming a valuable relationship. Basically, the whole point of negotiating with someone is to get something better than what you would get without negotiating.