Check out Extreme Negotiations at Harvard Business Review this month (kicker: What U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan have learned about the art of managing high-risk, high-stakes situations).
I have to tell you that I believe every one of our She Negotiates graduates understands and knows how to use the bullet point takeaways from Extreme Negotiations below. Let me also say it's not enough to read about these techniques ~ you must practice practice practice practice.
Get the Big Picture
- avoid assuming you have all the facts
- avoid assuming the other side is biased but you're not
- avoid assuming the other side's motivations and intentions are obvious and nefarious
- instead, be curious ("help me understand"); humble ("what do I do wrong?") and open-minded ("is there another way to explain this?")
Uncover and Collaborate
- avoid making open-ended offers ("what do you want")
- avoid making unilateral offers ("I'd be willing to . . . "
- avoid simply agreeing to or refusing the other side's demands
- instead ask "why is that important to you?"
- proposed solutions for critique ("here's a possibility - what might be wrong with it?")
Elicit Genuine Buy-in
- avoid threats ("you'd better agree, or else . . . "
- avoid arbitrariness ("I want it because I want it."
- avoid close-mindedness ("under no circumstances will I agree to - or even consider - that proposal"
- instead appeal to fairness ("what should we do?")
- appeal to logic and legitimacy ("I think this makes sense because . . . ")
- consider constituent perspectives ("how can each of us explain this agreement to colleagues?"
- avoid trying to "buy" a good relationship
- avoid offering concessions to repair actual or perceived breaches of trust
- instead explore how a breakdown in trust may have occurred and how to remedy it
- make concessions only if they are a legitimate way to compensate for losses owing to your nonperformance or broken commitments
- treat counterparts with respect, and act in ways that will command theirs.
Focus on process
- avoid acting without gauging how your actions will be perceived and what the response will be
- ignoring the consequences of a given action for future as well as current negotiations
- instead talk about the process ("we seem to be at an impasse; perhaps we should send some more time exploring our respective objectives and constraints."_
- slow down the pace: ("I'm not ready to agree, but I'd prefer not to walk away either. I think this warrants further exploration.")
- issue warnings without making threats: ("unless you're willing to work with me toward a mutually acceptable outcome, I can't afford to spend more time negotiating")
I'll be blogging on each one of these steps in the negotiation process for the next two weeks so stay tuned.