Business Negotiation January 4, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

Some things are best not settled in the light of publicity or under the scrutiny of those at the table. Much of what is said in the negotiating room is said not to reach agreement but to prove to others that their views are being expressed and fought for. Off-the-record talks permit the opposing parties to tell the other what the real impediments to agreement are and why some issues are more important than others.

Off-the-record discussions also set the stage for later accommodation at the bargaining table. In her ten-year research study of labor negotiations, Ann Douglas found that private talks between principal negotiators frequently preceded settlement. I had the same experience in customer-supplier negotiations. What we learned from each other during private meetings could not have been said in front of others. Yet it was what we learned “off-the-record” that closed the deal.

Off-the-record talks foster movement toward settlement because the negotiators can talk about their personal feelings as well as their organizational constraints on a person-to-person basis. They can privately indicated a willingness to compromise or to exchange one issue for another. These informal moves toward reconciliation might be politically unwise if discussed at the table in front of others.

There is a downside to off-the-record talks. Good negotiators know that not everything can or should be said off the record. They also know that some people, especially those with a strong need to be liked, talk too much in the privacy of a comfortable restaurant or under the gentle influence of good wine. Therein lies the danger inherent in a walk and talk in the woods.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

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Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

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INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

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Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

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Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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