Negotiation & the Art of Rapport

Asking questions works better than making demands in any area in life. You don’t always have to get your own way to win in a negotiation. Patience, listening skills and presenting alternatives can smooth over ruffled feathers. Experienced negotiators listen patiently and ask questions and then propose the alternatives. Recognize the other party has opinions and propose valid options to get to a goal. It’s not just your way, even when you want it to be.

Successful negotiators disagree without undermining the rapport they have taken time to create. They do this by listening patiently and confirming by repeating back to the speaker what they have just heard before they start contradicting the statements or proposing different options.

Whatever you do, do not try to push your opposing party into a corner, this will not make matters any better for your negotiation. It’s not a murder trial! It’s a negotiation where you should be working towards a mutually beneficial outcome. First and foremost, make the statement that you understand where they are coming from. Showing commonality & compassion will not cause them to react negatively to you. Then, at this point, you can disagree with them, but do so without insulting or putting them down. Don’t let the disagreement become confrontational. By all means, don’t out do the opponent.

Rather than a direct confrontation, use the salesman’s feel, felt, found formula. It’s been used for a hundred years but it works.

Think It Out To Yourself

Mean it when you say it. I understand how you feel (Be sure you do) then add “I’ve felt the same way” (You probably have) and conclude with “But in my experience I’ve found….” Then slowly present or propose an alternative solution. It’s a negotiation, not you getting everything and they get nothing.

Identify With The Opponent

What you strive to accomplish with this strategy is keep rapport and disagree in a non-confrontational manner. Most of all you’ve identified with the opponent and hopefully your suggested solutions will guide the opponent to a different point of view.

Another method of non-confrontational disagreement is to state how you’ve solved a similar disagreement in the past. Most opponents are willing to listen to suggestions and solutions that worked before.

Alternatives And Solutions Are The Best And Easiest Way To Negotiate

That way you are not criticizing the opponent and you are cooperating. Be first to present alternatives – that’s plural. Many of your opponents will say no to all of your suggestions. Prepare for that. Time is a significant part of the negotiation and it takes time for people to consider alternatives and options. They need time to think about it. People are begging to be lead, make suggestions. Encourage the opponent to participate. Show that you can go beyond what’s normal. Show them a better solution. When they are confronted with something better, when it’s staring them in the face, it’d hard for them to argue.

Differing Opinions

The intensity of a negotiation can create clashing and violent differences of opinions. Let the other party have equal say so, so they don’t get frustrated and become hostile. The more you listen the more you know what they want and you can pin point the solution or alternative.

Open ended questions, such as “Why do that?…”, “What are you thinking…” or “What other suggestions would you like to make…”, “Do you have other options…” or “What’s the consequences of that proposal?”

The idea is to create reciprocity, equals working towards a common benefit.

Using these techniques will help you to gain perspective in any negotiation, and tend to help you reach the goals you set forth to accomplish.

New Way of Negotiation

Think back to a recent negotiation that you were involved in. Were you apprehensive that your counterpart in the negotiation would be better prepared or more skillful? Perhaps you were hopeful that the facts favored you and that your alternatives were much better than those of your counterpart. Were you nervous because your processional possibilities were tied to the outcome? During the negotiation, were you surprised by some new facts you didn’t know or made angry by the patronizing attitude of the other negotiator? And at the end, were you thrilled at the outcome.

Don’t let them get to you, good advice for negotiating? But what is the way to become the expert negotiator? I have experienced the new way of negotiation, which is very intrinsic, primary and fundamental part of human experience. We often negotiate under the influence of emotions, it plays many important roles: it motivates us to act; it provides us with important information about ourselves, the other party, and the negotiation; it helps organize and sharpen our cognitive processes; and it enhances the process and outcome of a negotiation when used strategically. While the emotion we experience provides us with information, the emotion we display provides information to others that can be an incentive or deterrent to their behavior. 

Initially, emotion was considered to be an obstacle to a good negotiated outcome and a foe to an effective bargaining process. Emotion in negotiation is a very common thing. Yet, many people suggest that being emotional is a sign of a weakness or is the behavior of an unsophisticated negotiator; some say that emotions must be repressed. 

There are many advantages to being an emotionally intelligent negotiator. For example, an emotionally intelligent negotiator is able to gather more and richer information about the other side’s underlying interests and reservation points; can more accurately evaluate risk, which leads to better decision making; can better perceive opportunities to use negotiation strategies and tactics that involve emotions; and can more successfully induce desired emotions in negotiation opponents. 

Negotiations often suggest a variety of emotions, especially anger and excitement. Angry negotiators plan to use more competitive strategies and to cooperate less, even before the negotiation starts. However, expression of negative emotions during negotiation can beneficial: legitimately expressed anger can be an effective way to show one’s commitment, sincerity, and needs. Excitement provides the high charge of negotiation.

What Is The Goal Of Negotiation

When people are asked what negotiation is, they would immediately say, “win-win”. But win-win is not the definition of negotiation, it is its goal. So yes, the purpose of negotiation is to give both parties the chance to lobby their proposals and all end-up winners at the end of the negotiation process. A good business person will tell you that negotiation is not a chance for you to hustle or low-ball other people. When you have this in mind from the get-go, your reputation will be negatively affected in the long run. Ultimately, your business will suffer too.

The Plan
Before you start the negotiation process, it’s important that you have a good plan. This will serve as your road map that will help you successfully arrive to your destination. It basically gives you an idea about the best ways to achieve your goal.

The win-win agreement
Like I’ve said, this is the ultimate goal of negotiation-a win-win agreement. In order for you to achieve this, a good plan is needed. The plan should include the strategies and tactics that you’ll employ in order for you to achieve your goal.

To be clearer about what you need to do before you enter into any type of negotiation, here are 4 steps that will serve as your guideline:

1. You need to define your goals and objectives – by setting your goals and objectives, you’ll be constantly reminded why you’re negotiating in the first place. You’ll be able to design good strategies and tactics that are relevant to these goals and that will help you achieve them.

There are many people who don’t do this that’s why they get lost during the process of negotiation and end-up at the losing end.

2. Learn more about the business or the person that you’re going to negotiate with. Don’t forget to include the market and the competition. You have to cover your bases.

3. Identify the strategies that you’ll employ.

4. Identify the tactics that you’ll employ – if you have plan A, have plan B and plan C as well.

Here are more tips on how to negotiation:

1. Focus on the problem – you don’t want to go personal with the people you’re dealing with. The best way to get a win-win agreement is to focus on the problem at hand and not at the people you’re dealing with. By doing this, you’re able to do business with them without ruining your relationship with the other party.

2. Understand their motive or bargaining position – Do they have a hidden agenda? Sometimes, you have to go beyond what you hear. Try to analyze things.

3. Alternatives – if you can’t agree on the initial proposal, try to think about other options that is amenable to both parties.