Preparing for Any Negotiation

Negotiation plays an important part in interpersonal relationships. When people are in conflict, finding the way out of anger and into peaceful resolution is a process of negotiation. As a mediator, I serve as a neutral party and bring my understanding of the elements of negotiation to help individuals and groups resolve disagreement. Through mediation, I help people to uncover their individual and common interests and to find creative solutions they all can live with.

Part of why negotiation is anxiety producing is because people typically don’t know that they should prepare and how to get ready. Taking the time before hand to examine the interests, alternatives and options of yourself as well as the other parties involved will allow you to get to a better resolution and to feel better about the outcome.

Before any negotiation consider these elements.

Interests

What are you and the other side trying to achieve through this negotiation and why? What needs are each of you trying to meet?

For example, a business owner hiring a new employee, beyond the need to increase productivity in your company, might be seeking to increase competence in a particular skill area, credibility, greater profitability, or deeper connection with your customer base. A prospective employee applying for a new job is likely seeking economic security yet may also have a need for flexibility, challenge, creativity, participation, self-respect, or connection with a like-minded community. If each party examines their own interests and discovers where they overlap with the others, agreement can be reached more easily and the agreements will have greater durability.

Alternatives

Alternatives are the choices that are away from the negotiating table.

For an employer, alternatives to hiring a particular employee might be hiring a different applicant, taking no action at this time, re-opening the search, or closing the search to shift responsibility to other departments. Alternatives for the job seeker include finding employment at another company or launching one, continuing the job search, going back to school for an advanced degree, or creating a different relationship with the employer such as consulting, contracting, partnership or franchising.

Options

Options are ideas and strategies that are put on the table that might meet the needs of both parties.

Options for a company and prospective employee might be a combination of salary and commission, company day care, flexible hours, company profit sharing, training programs, a path to promotion and growth or myriad others that provide both sides with satisfaction.

Consultation and Mediation

As a negotiation consultant and mediator, I help people prepare for negotiations by uncovering and exploring their interests, increasing their alternatives and exploring innovative options for resolution. I always offer a free initial session to begin the process to see if consulting or mediation is appropriate for your situation.

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