The Art of Win - Win Negotiating
By Gary Lockwood

None of us operates in a vacuum. Other people always play an  important role in our lives and in our businesses. We cannot fully   succeed unless we manage our relationships in a way that helps  us move toward our goals.

Of course, other people have goals, too. Clearly, one of the keys to a productive relationship is learning how to create situations that  benefit all parties.

Throughout the 1980s, as the Information Age expanded and  accelerated, a new model of individual behavior emerged,  characterized by a fiercely independent frame of mind. During  that time, many people learned to achieve their goals through   manipulation and intimidation.

Now, modern entrepreneurs recognize the wisdom of working  interdependently in order to be truly effective. The accelerating  pace of change and the explosive proliferation of information has created a situation where no one person can possibly keep up  without enlisting the support and help of others. In today's market- place, you have to be skilled in negotiating the terms of interaction between yourself and your clients, colleagues or staff.

The Law of Reciprocity says that Like generates Like. From this  principle comes a radically new concept of winning: Winning and  Losing do not have to go hand-in-hand.

Who says that there must be a loser just because there is a  winner? With some effort and creativity, you can orchestrate a  situation so that all parties can have a win. The fundamental  premise of this philosophy is called Win:Win. Win:Win is the   highest form of reciprocity to which we can aspire.

Win:Win negotiation is essential when:
* you are building long-term relationships
* the results are likely to be public knowledge
* tension exists between the participants
* you want to take advantage of the synergy gained from  collaborative effort

Trained Win:Win negotiators always try to conduct themselves according to the behavior appropriate to a Win:Win approach. They are assertive rather than aggressive, creative versus antagonistic, even if the other person is not willing to cooperate.

The skilled Win:Win negotiator focuses on the issues involved  and doesn't allow personalities to get in the way. If your negotiating partner resorts to personal attacks or makes outrageous demands, you can bring his behavior under control by maintaining control of  your own. The wise negotiator keeps cool under all circumstances.

Here are the key behaviors essential to a Win:Win negotiation:

** Be flexible. Start your negotiations with specific objectives, but don't draw a "line in the sand". Have the confidence to adjust your  end game as you learn what the other person wants.

** State your objectives up front. Ask the other person to describe their desired end result of the negotiations. This is crucial if you want a Win:Win outcome. The idea is not to achieve your objectives OR their objectives. The purpose of Win:Win negotiation is to have both of you working together to discover ways to achieve your objectives AND her objectives.

** Use AND thinking. Determine if it is possible to achieve both   sets of objectives as they stand. If not, identify the common ground in both objectives.

** Concentrate on reasons, not positions. When you have a   difference of opinion, find out the reasons behind the differences. When you take a position, there is a reason why you made that  decision. Attacking the decision or the position is a recipe for  deadlock, hard feelings and anger. Skilled Win:Win negotiators explain their own reasons for a position and question the other person to discover the thinking behind his or her decisions.

** Search for options. Concentrate on creatively generating   alternative solutions, ideas and possibilities that best fit the  objectives of both parties. This is an opportunity to really take  advantage of the creative power of two-heads-better-than-one.

** Trade concessions. Don't donate them. If you are asked to make concessions from your ideal objective, ask the other person to  offer something in return. Say "If I do that for you, will you do this  for me?"

** Do your homework. The key to effective negotiation is preparation. What can you learn in advance about the other person's desired objectives, the current situation, preferences and  negotiating style? How well have you specified your objectives,  your bargaining chips and your bottom-line?

** Develop the shopping list. Before you start bargaining, obtain  a list of issues that your negotiating partners want to bring up. Be  sure to articulate your own list so you can start the bargaining with a complete list of all the issues to be negotiated. This will help  prevent new issues from being introduced all along the way.

** Keep a written record of progress. As you come to agreement on each issue, write it down. This will help maintain forward momentum.

** Make the most of your bargaining chips. Identify those concessions you are willing to make that have a low cost to you and  that are important to your negotiating partner. When you offer  such a concession, remember to ask for something you want  in exchange.

** Slow down. Don't respond to pressure or urgency by making  snap decisions. Take a break to give yourself time to consider  the ramifications of your next actions. Never give away anything  when you do not fully understand the consequences.

** Encourage creativity. Use words like "What if we...", "What  about...", Would this...?" Draw ideas and pictures on a large paper or flip chart. Occasionally, stop the bargaining to do some brainstorming together, then resume the negotiation.

Remember that more and more, the issues being negotiated are intangible. Time, service, quality and commitment are important  issues for negotiation. The value placed on each facet of these  intangibles is hard to see, touch and measure. Every person puts different weight and value on these issues that make up much of our negotiations.

As a skilled Win:Win negotiator, you must recognize that the way  another person values an issue may differ from your own. All  people view things their own way. Getting to an understanding  of how much the other person values each issue will allow you  to effectively bargain issue for issue.

In a world driven by information and knowledge, the traditional  rules of hard-nosed negotiation are less useful. Winning in  today's marketplace means ensuring that everyone can achieve their necessary goals and outcomes. This in turn allows us to   establish and maintain long term business relationships.

About the Author...Gary Lockwood is Your Business Coach. Grow your business, make more money and have more fun. Get the Unique, Do-It-Yourself Business Consulting Kits - FREE  To get yours, go to
Office: (800) 272-1575 (USA)
* Fax: (760) 325-9608

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