The Game, Step by Step

Six Stages of Negotiation
N.B. Synopsis of Mind Battling© An Animal Health focused Negotiation Skills- Copyrights Eyad Harfoush- 2007

1- Planning and Preparing
  • Determine what you must have and what you are willing to give (Bargaining Chips).
  • Gather facts about the other party, learn about his negotiating style.
  • Prepare alternatives proposals and establish BATNA (the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).
  • Estimate the other party's needs, bargaining chips and BATNA. The most ideal case is to get as much as you can.
2- Tone Setting
  • The initial speeches of the figureheads or the team leaders are usually political words that should reflect willingness for cooperation and settlement attainment. Nevertheless, sometimes the figurehead might need a shock approach in his intro as he opens up the issue of dispute.
  • The overall tone of negotiation is usually kept by the more qualified and talented team among disputants.
  • Your opponent might try to provoke you by different means, if he succeeded in this, you have already lost the game before it starts.
  • Keep the conversation tone as quite as possible.
  • Get the tone higher only when things are going in the opposite direction against your BATNA attainment

3- Needs Exploration

  • Actively listen for facts and reasons behind other party’s position and explore his underlying needs. That is not necessarily aligned with his declared needs.
  • If conflict exists, try to develop creative alternatives.
  • In a difficult situation, don't say anything, simply take time out. When we say nothing we give nothing away.
  • If you had the impression that your opponent is indifferent about the direction of negotiation, or giving-up his chips very easily, do not go very fast. You must reconsider his degree of commitment to the looked after agreement.
  • Frequently, self actualization needs and esteem needs of the negotiator might guide his style and flexibility during negotiation. Remember, everyone wants to get some good news for his superiors and how clever he was.

4- Selecting, Refining & Crafting

  • It is a step in which both parties present the starting proposal. Everyone at this stage is voicing the ideal solutions to himself. Some negotiators prefers to go beyond ideal as initial exaggeration to lower opponent expectations.
  • Both parties should listen to each other proposals in an organized fashion. If you had any points against the proposal of your opponent, write it down to tackle during your turn.
  • Detail your proposal in an organized fashion. Give short and relevant introduction that facilitates comprehending your ideas. Then, speak your points as a list, stressing on the no. “I am afraid I have three points of major fear here, these four points are; No. 1……”. Stressing no. of points keeps audience attention for longer period until he covers the initially expressed no.
  • Do not get in details and loose the main track. Try to finish each point in not more than 2-3 minutes
  • Prepare your statements in mind before voicing it. Ensure choosing inspiring words that creates the image of your issues in the mind of your opponents. Have a faith in what you say, so that you can transmit this faith to others.
  • Start with your pre-requests, follow it with what is highly urging and pressuring. Then in a slightly quieter tone express your minors.
  • Usually this stage is repeated several times, with each team showing some flexibility whenever possible tell an agreement seems attainable.

5- Recapping an Agreement

  • This stage starts when the shadow of a consensus starts to appear
  • Reaching to here, both parties formalize agreement in a written contract , memorandum of understanding or letter of intent.
  • Agreements with remarkable importance undergoes process of legalization and notarization before considered final documents.

6- Reviewing the Negotiation
Reviewing the negotiation helps one to learn the lessons on how to achieve a better outcome. Therefore, one should take the time to review each element and ask oneself, "what went well?" and "what could be improved next time“. This can be done in a solo analysis or within the team who attended the negotiations, which gives better analysis based on group inputs from different angels.

Copyrights© 2006. Eyad Harfoush

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