How to negotiate effectively /на англ./

How to negotiate effectively /на англ./


1. What is

Negotiation is an
essential part of the every-day business life. It can take place at any time
and in any place. Negotiation is a kind of meeting, but contrary to the latter
it may be held in some unexpected and uncomfortable place such as the street or
on the stairs.

There are several
definitions of negotiation. It is said to be “the process for resolving
conflict between two or more parties whereby both or all modify their demands
to achieve a mutually acceptable compromise”. Thus, it is “the process of
changing both parties’ views of their ideal outcome into an attainable

The need of
negotiation arises when we are not fully in control of events. Negotiations
take place to handle mutual differences or conflict of:

interests    (wages,
hours, work conditions, prices: seller vs buyer)

rights                     (different
interpretations of an agreement)

The aim of a
negotiation is to come to an agreement which is acceptable to both sides, and
to preserve the overall relationships. While specific issues are to be
negotiated, common interest are yet still to be maintained. Negotiations do not
mean “war”. Negotiators can still be friends and partners.

2. The
negotiation continuum


The situations of
negotiation can be shown diagrammatically in terms of ideals and limits.

                                            Ideal                             Limit


Bargaining area


Limit                                      Ideal         YOU

The limit may be
the limit of negotiator’s authority, such as a minimum (e.g. price) acceptable.
If there is overlap it is possible to settle. The final position within the
bargaining area, where settlement takes place, depends on the negotiators’
relative strength and skill.

No overlap

The aim of the
negotiator is to achieve a result, i.e. to find a solution, within the
bargaining area. However, it is possible that both parties set limits which do
not provide overlap. In this case the negotiators have to move their limits,
otherwise the negotiation will be broken down.


HIM                                                       No deal



Limit                                       Ideal

Too much overlap

The opposite case
is also possible. When one is careless and settles for less than he could. In
this case the limit of the opposite side should be found and the ideal should
be revised.

Ideal                               Limit



Limit             Ideal           Revised Ideal

3. The approach

There are four
main stages of negotiation:

Preparing objectives,
information, strategy

Discussing (argue) and
signalling willingness to move

Propose and bargain

Close and agree

While preparing to
the negotiation it is important not only to prepare supporting arguments but
also to define objectives. Objectives should be realistic and attainable and
have certain priorities. It is also necessary to investigate the opponent’s
plans and priorities, which can be rather difficult.

The objectives
should be classified basically as follows:

Like                Ideal
but least important

Intend            Achievable,
a range of possibilities







The general
strategy for negotiation is to have a negotiating team of three people, who
will also be involved in the preparation.

Leader                  The
person who will do the talking and conduct the negotiations

Summariser        The
person who will ask questions and summarise for control

Observer              The
person not involved in the actual negotiations, whose role is

to watch, listen and record

80 % of the
negotiating time is spent arguing. If it equals 100 % the negotiation will
break down. There are two kinds of arguing:

Reasonable and
constructive             Debates, discussions

Unreasonable and
destructive                       Emotional quarrels

The opponent may
try to divert you by escaping into destructive behaviour. In this case, your
behaviour should be not to interrupt, but to listen and control your feelings.
Even if the battle is won, the war can be lost.

A negotiator
should be constructive in arguments and try to get information by asking open
questions or even leading questions. One thing should be tackled at a time and
the opponent should be made justify his case item by item.

It is important to
be non-committal and to state only ideals at first. Later, the information
about the negotiator’s position can be given, and later alternative proposals
can be made. Sometimes it is necessary to challenge the opponent, so that he
demonstrates his strengths.

Negotiation means
movement. It may be that both parties move on one issue. It may be that each
moves on different issue. The motive forces are twofold:

Sanctions            The
penalty of not agreeing

Incentives                        The
benefits of agreeing. 

To signal is not
to show weakness. But if both parties wait for the other to signal, the result
will be deadlock.

The opponent’s
signals will show his willingness to move. So one should listen, recognise his
signals and interpret them, looking for the qualified words which are evidence
of willingness to move.

Another very
important point of negotiations is proposing and bargaining. Proposals should
be realistic in order not to cause argument and deadlock. The language of the
proposal signals one’s firmness. Weak language such as “we hope…, we like…, we
prefer…” should be avoided. Instead, a phrase “we propose…” is appropriate.

The final step in
a negotiation is closing and agreeing. There are two aspects to it:

When to close

How to close

The first is the
most difficult moment to recognise. There is a balance between:

Closing too early                        More
concessions from the opponent could have been


Closing too late              The
opponents squeezed excessive concessions.

The aim of closing
is to get the opposition to stop bargaining and to make an agreement. The final
thing to do is to write down the agreement and agree what is written down. It
is necessary to do this before leaving the negotiating table.


4. Characteristics
of an effective negotiator

characteristics should one have to be an effective negotiator. The first and
the most important characteristics, from the standpoint of many executives and
managers of large corporations, is preparation and planning skills.

The other very
important characteristics are:

Knowledge of subject
matter being negotiated

Ability to think
clearly and rapidly under pressure and uncertainty

Ability to express
thoughts verbally

Listening skills

Judgement and general

Ability to persuade



5. Conclusion

In spite of the existence
of negotiating theories, it is frequently difficult to apply theoretical and
conceptual knowledge in a practical situation. In order to be a good negotiator,
one should have negotiation skills as well as a theoretical knowledge. But
without a practical experience it is hard to negotiate effectively.

skills are very important in the negotiation, but what can help a negotiating
party while thinking what to do is not an elaborated theory, but rather is it a
simple analysis and intuition.


Raiffa, Howard. 1982.
The art and science of negotiation. Harvard University Press. Pages 119-133.

Murcott, Owen. 1991. IBS
Management Training. Hanzehogeschool. Groningen.

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