Every negotiation, according to Roger Fisher of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, has seven distinguishable elements that are interconnected. They are:
As a negotiator, during your preparation (remember how important preparing is?), you can use these 7 elements to create your game plan.
As a mediator, it is important to remember these as you can help the parties move forward, move from positions to interests, and keeping the 7 in mind, it helps move from stalemates (among many other positive uses).
Regardless of how you mediate or negotiate, the 7 elements are always present in negotiations. What changes is the importance of one over the other. An example is having your interests met in a particular negotiation might far outweigh the future relationship you will have with the other party.
I am going to breakdown the 7 elements into separate posts by day as a way to get you to keep coming back to my blog (wait, did I just think that or type it?!?).
Seriously, I am breaking it down element by element to keep the theme of my posts being quick reads, but after the seventh one, I will make a posting having all seven in one place for easier future references.
Negotiating based on interests has many positive attributes to it. But what does ‘interests’ mean?
Guess what? Those are positions- not interests. The above are what you want to accomplish. To create a greater chance of a mutually beneficial agreement, negotiate on interests over positions. When you negotiate on positions, both sides have a tendency to dig their heels in, get stuck in their thoughts, spend most of the negotiation defending their position and attacking the others.
Interest based negotiating on the other hand creates more of a collaborative environment and expands your options. By doing this, its creates a win-win opportunity compared to the combative me versus you/win-lose situation.
Ok, now you know your interests, so you think you are done right? Wrong, you are only halfway there. It is great you know your interests, but in order for the negotiation to get a successful outcome, the agreement must be beneficial to both parties. So yes, you guessed it, you have to figure out the other party’s interests too.
Figuring out their interests provides you with many benefits. For one thing, it prepares you on how they may or may not respond to your needs. Also, knowing their interests helps you find out what their alternatives are.