I’m sure our elected politicians know more than I do about negotiating, but I really wish they’d read the “Nine Ways to Break an Ice-Jam in Negotiations” from The Accidental Leader by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley.
They may learn something, saved us a lot of drama and wouldn’t have screwed up the country’s AAA credit rating.
- Share information. People struggling to find agreement have reason to be distrustful. Why not divulge information? It communicates the idea that mutual gain is a possibility — that I don’t have to succeed by making you fail. Transparency will lead to a win/win if you’re willing.
- Ask what’s up. Instead of trying to pry information from the other side, why not just ask for it? The chances of getting good information are better if you ask than if you don’t ask. It would also be wise to verify what information you’re getting from the internet before assuming it is accurate.
- Pay attention. When the other side is talking, it’s tempting to sit back and plan your response. Look for common interests to negotiate around. The information in their remarks provide many clues which you will miss if you aren’t listening carefully. Another example of why God gave us two ears and one mouth.
- Give something away. Albert Einstein once said that nothing is ever yours until you give it away. If you want reciprocity, start by giving something away, it changes the tone and invites reciprocation.
- Make lots of offers. Something will intrigue the other side and get you moving.
- Frost the cake. Be on the lookout for “post-negotiation negotiations,” bets and side deals that can extend and broaden the improved relationship. Finish the negotiation by asking, “how can I help you, or your constituents, be more successful?”
- Barter. People will often trade things, including information, that they would never sell.
- Celebrate cooperation publicly, in print and on the internet.
- Suggest rewards for cooperative actions.
What tactics have you found help you have more successful negotiations?