Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Be ‘Informed’ in Negotiations

In my earlier blog articles, ‘The Power of Power in Negotiations’ and ‘3 Golden Rules about time in Negotiations’, I presented the importance of 'Power' and 'Time' in negotiations as explained by Herb Cohen in his book 'You can Negotiate Anything'. In this post, we will have a look at ‘Information’ as the third crucial aspect in negotiations.

Negotiation, as Herb mentions, is not an event, but is a process. Information is at the heart of all negotiations. The more information you have about the other side about their needs, their real deadline and priorities, the more advantage you have. Chances of getting this information during the negotiations are rare.

So what to do? Start early. The earlier you start, the easier it is to gather information. Herb explains that it is a myth that the more informed and flawless we appear, the more easily we will get the information. In fact, the opposite is true. The more confused and defenseless we appear, the more easily we will get information and advice.

Where do you get information? From anywhere! Talk to the associates, people who are working or have worked with the person with whom you are going to meet at the negotiation event. If it is not possible to make such a direct contact with other side’s associates, find other ways. Make use of third parties, speak with people who have negotiated or dealt with them in past. Try to gather information from publications, journals etc.

Now, during the actual negotiation event, practice effective listening techniques. On careful concentration on what’s going on, you can learn more about other side’s deadlines, feelings, motivations and real needs. It will also help you listen to what is being said as well as what is not being necessarily said. You will be able to better interpret and understand the cues which could be unintentional, verbal or behavioral.

The key piece of information any negotiator would like to get is about the real limits of the other party or how much are they willing to sacrifice to make the deal. Many a times, this can be obtained by observing the concession behavior on the part of the other side.

In a nutshell, to be successful in negotiations, gather as much information as you can about the other party. For gathering information, start early. Practice listening technique during negotiation event and observe. The more information you have about the other party, the more power you will have in the bargain.

So here we come to the end of this 3 part series about crucial aspects for successful negotiations. Hope you enjoyed reading these articles.

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