- They suggest realistic expectations
- They listen to both sides without bias
- They help stimulate alternative thinking or different approaches to a resolution
- The may suggest a compromise that neither party considered
- They may give both parties an “out” or a way to save face
Tag archive: deadlock
Do You Need a Mediation?
Webster’s defines mediation as “intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or compromise.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines mediation as "a fair and efficient process to help you resolve your ...disputes and reach an agreement. A neutral mediator assists you in reaching a voluntary, negotiated agreement." The emphasis, which the EEOC includes in their definition, is on fairness and efficiency. If you are interested in labor meditations, please read more about the EEOC and negotiation here. By understanding those definitions, it seems that every business and diplomatic negotiation could use mediation. After all, what is negotiation if not the act of reaching an agreement? However, not every negotiation requires a mediator. Many times, the parties are able to reach an agreement on their own. On the other hand, certain situations such as deadlock or when communications have been compromised by heightened emotion, benefit greatly from mediation and even require mediation to be able to conclude negotiations. A mediator helps to diffuse conflict and to reach accord. He or she acts as a communications go-between. Dr. Chester Karrass tell us that mediators bring the following to a negotiation:Read more »
Emotions in Negotiations
Keeping your cool. We’ve all seen it happen: someone loses their cool and then things go downhill very quickly. This is the last thing we want to see happen during a negotiation. Strong emotions during a business negotiation can lead to deadlock. Getting emotional during a negotiation has an effect both on you and the other party. When you are emotional, you don’t think clearly. In fact, you distort reality and even lose touch with what is really going on. Your emotional actions breed reactions from the other party. The other person might react quite negatively to your emotional outburst: he/she might become afraid that things are out of control or feel that that he/she pushed you too far. Some negotiators use emotion to manipulate a negotiation. They feign anger or apathy to move the negotiation toward their goals precisely because they understand that emotions create reactions in the other party. Be wary of this type of manufactured emotion. Of course, it is hard to escape our genuine emotions. A strong emotion can show what you really care about. However, in the interest of the negotiation, you must keep your cool. Here is what to do when a negotiation turns emotional: • Focus the discussion on facts, and not feelings. • When things get too heated, call for a time-out (or a coffee break). • Rephrase the other person’s comments to show active listening. • Always work to maintain your composure. And remember, a negotiation is a discussion not an argument. The person who shouts the loudest does not win!Read more »
Acceptance Time in Negotiations
The idea of acceptance time is so simple that it is often overlooked when negotiating. Yet, when understood, it has the power to make each of us more effective. People need time to accept ideas that are new or different. Both parties walk into a negotiating session with somewhat unrealistic goals. They start with all kinds of misconceptions and assumptions. Being human, they hope that their goals will be easily met. The process of negotiating is usually a rude awaking. The low price hoped for by a buyer begins to look impossible. The easy sale that a seller longs for eludes him or her. The need for new production tools, engineering equipment, or software is confronted by an inflexible budget or competing demands for corporate resources. Reality is resisted—resulting in deadlock or an unrealistic agreement that soon falls apart. Can we expect a buyer, seller, engineer, or manager to adjust to new and undesired realities immediately? Of course not. Resistance to change is universal. It takes time to get used to ideas that are foreign or unpleasant. We can even get used to the reality of death given a long enough period to do so. Acceptance time is as important in negotiation as it is in life. By giving the other party acceptance time, reinforcing your own ideas with more information, and being open to the new ideas of the other party, you stand a greater chance of reaching a better understanding and a longer lasting agreement.Read more »
Scrambled Eggs - How To Defend Against Disorder
It is wiser to simplify matters than to confuse them. "Scrambled Eggs" does the opposite. It deliberately mixes things up for tactical reasons. Scrambling can be used to forestall a deadlock, make the other person work harder, force through a last-minute demand, or retreat from a prior concession. Sometimes it is used to determine how well the other party keeps his or her wits under pressure. Negotiations should be conducted in a orderly fashion. The Scrambler knows that disorder can also work. The Scrambler takes advantage of the mistakes people make when they are confused. Suddenly apples can't be compared to apples, and cost comparisons become impossible to make. It takes self-confidence to stop a scrambler. These steps help: 1. Have the courage to say, "I don't understand." 2. Keep saying "I don't understand" until you do. 3. Insist that matters be discussed one at a time. 4. Recognize that you do not have to talk about things as the Scrambler want you to. Start in your own way and get the Scrambler going down your line of reasoning. 5. Remember scrambling can backfire. The Scrambler can become as confused as you are. 6. Watch for the mistakes you are sure to make when confused. Your key defense is to never negotiate an issue until you understand it. Practice and courage help unscramble the Scrambler.Read more »
Negotiating During Economic Turbulence
During times of economic turbulence (LIKE NOW!) most negotiations get tougher. Don't reduce your bargaining power by making mistakes. Now is not the time! Here are eight common negotiating missteps people make. Despite their good intentions "not to do that again," mistakes like these happen over and over. Don't fall into these negotiating traps!Read more »
- Do not underestimate your negotiating power. Most people tend to have more power than they think. Make a systematic analysis of your power -- understand your strengths. Your negotiating power rests on a foundation of more than just competition or financial matters. Your commitment, knowledge, risk taking, hard work, and your negotiating skill are also real sources of power. Don't assume the other party knows your weaknesses. On the contrary, assume they do not, and test that assumption. You probably have more power than you think.
- Don't be intimidated by status. We all become so accustomed to showing deference to titles and positions that we carry these attitudes into the negotiation. Remember that some experts are superficial; some people with PHD's quit learning years ago; some people in authority are incompetent; a specialist may be excellent in their field but without skill in other areas; learned people, despite high positions of power and authority, sometimes lack the courage to pursue their convictions, or sometimes don't even have a strong conviction on the issue being negotiated.
- Remember not to be intimidated by statistics, precedents, principles or regulations. Some of today's decisions are being made on the basis of premises or principles long dead or irrelevant. Be skeptical. Many premises or principles may not apply today -- or do not apply for your specific situation. When necessary, challenge them!
- Do not forget that the other party is negotiating with you because they believe there is something they can gain by being there. You may discover that this negotiation, no matter how small, is part of a larger framework in the other party's objectives. This fact alone may provide you greater negotiating power that is apparent from the situation. Be positive in your approach. Assume the other party wants an agreement as much as you do. If it appears they do not -- find out why.
- Don't focus on your own problems or your possible losses if a deadlock occurs. In all likelihood, there are consequences for the other party as severe as your own. Concentrate on their problems and issues. These will reveal opportunities for possible ways to agree.
- Most negotiations require some concession making. Don't set your initial demands too close to your final objective. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that it pays to start high. Don't be shy about asking for everything you might want and more. Many times your demands are too modest, or too easy to achieve. The other party may not know what they want, or may have a set of values quite different from your own. Remember never to give a concession without obtaining on in return. Don't give concessions away free -- or at least without a thought provoking discussion with the other party about what they are getting. A concession granted too easily does not contribute to the other party's satisfaction as much as one that they struggle to obtain.
- It is a mistake to assume you know what the other party wants. It is far more prudent to assume you do not know, and then proceed to discover the realities of the situation by patient testing and discussion. If you proceed to negotiate a deal on the basis of your own untested estimates, you are making a serious mistake.
- Never accept the first offer (even if you like it). Many people do. There are two good reasons not to: First, the other party is probably willing to make some concessions. Second, if you do accept the first offer, there is a distinct chance the other party will feel that their offer was foolish and they should have asked for more. Immediately their satisfaction with the agreement will be reduced, and they may find ways to spoil the agreement later. In either case, the negotiator who takes the first offer too fast makes a mistake.
Negotiating Power Is In Your Head
There is an old expression, "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you are right." This certainly applies to how you approach your negotiations. Your power is in your head. Much of what happens during a negotiation is influenced by the expectations and pre-conditioning of each party. As we discuss in the Karrass Effective Negotiating Seminar, you are normally more aware of your pressures than the pressures on the other party. You need to discipline yourself to determine what pressures the other party has. And, to what extent you can, precondition the other party to impact their expectations. An article in the Los Angeles Times illustrates this issue. The article describes what's happening today with many consumer purchases – things like flat-screen televisions, new furniture, clothes, luggage, etc. Most of us have preconceived expectations regarding what is possible, and what is not possible, when we see that sale price posted on a new flat-screen television. But, as this LA Times article states, this is changing! "With jobs getting scarcer, stocks on a roller coaster and economists talking recession, not many people feel like paying full price for, well, anything." Now is the time to try negotiating. "That's right, the age-old tactic more frequently observed in foreign bazaars and rug stores is returning to the malls and Main Street. As stores feel pressured to move merchandise, and consumers feel the pinch of slowing economy, prices are becoming more negotiable." Negotiating is at an all time high. "Negotiating is more common at independent retailers than big chain stores . . . but that is changing, says Richard Giss, a partner in Deloitte & Touche's consumer business division in Los Angeles." Obviously when a store permits its salespeople to negotiate prices, it can hurt the bottom line. But, it can hurt the store much more if merchandise ends up sitting around unsold and larger discounts have to be offered to sell it a month from now. What is the key to taking advantage of this changing climate in the consumer marketplace? You've got to try to negotiate. Don’t let your head tell you it can’t be done. Be prepared to negotiate. Research prices before you start and know what competitors are offering (the power of competition). Use the Web – more and more merchants are agreeing to match the price of something you can purchase on-line. Be nice (i.e. establish a relationship). Take your time, this assures both you and the merchant have a vested interest in making a deal happen. Ask for information on upcoming discounts, past discounts, special un-advertised discounts, special discounts or coupons they have sent out to other customers, that could be used for this purchase. Sometimes a merchant may be willing to take off the sales tax. Paying cash, “or pulling out a credit card or checkbook and looking ready to buy on the spot helps too.” Ask for help, “This is all I can spend. What can you do for me?” Be persistent; but be prepared to walk out (deadlock) “When they say, ‘I can’t do that. I’ll lose money,’ say ‘If I walk out of here, you’ll lose even more money.” As one merchant said, “We don’t want to do it, but we don’t want to lose the business either.” Don’t make a scene in the store. A merchant is much more likely to offer a price concession if not all the other shoppers in the store hear what is happening. If you are purchasing multiple products (i.e. three pairs of shoes) ask for a discount. If you are a repeat customer, ask for the ‘good customer discount.’ Try a ‘nibble’ – if I buy these, will you give me one of these? You may be surprised how things have changed – just in the last few months. “One thing is certain: There’s no harm in asking. And shop owners probably won’t be surprised if you ask for a bargain.” These negotiations starts with you – you have to ask!Read more »
Scrambled Eggs and Negotiating
Disorder -- (i.e. Scrambled Eggs) -- is a negotiating tactic. When negotiating good, lasting agreements, it is generally wiser to simplify matters than to confuse them. However, "Scrambled eggs" does the opposite. It deliberately mixes things up for tactical reasons. Scrambling can be used to forestall a deadlock, make the other person work harder, force through a last-minute demand, or retreat from a prior concession. Sometimes it is used to determine how well the other person keeps his or her wits under pressure. Negotiations should be conducted in an orderly fashion. The Scrambler knows that disorder can also work. The Scrambler takes advantage of the mistakes people make when they are confused. Suddenly apples can't be compared to apples, and cost comparisons become impossible to make.It takes self-confidence to stop a Scrambler. These steps help: 1. Have the courage to say, "I don't understand." 2. Keep saying "I don't understand" until you do. 3. Insist that matters be discussed one at a time. 4. Recognize that you do not have to talk about things as the Scrambler wants you to. Start in your own way and get the Scrambler going down your line of reasoning. 5. Remember scrambling can backfire. The Scrambler can become as confused as you are. 6. Watch for the mistakes you are sure to make. Your key defense is to never negotiate an issue until you understand it. Practice and courage help unscramble the Scrambler.Read more »
Forestalling a Breakdown in Talks
Let us consider some ways to forestall breakdowns before they harden into long-term bickering or wars. The suggestions that follow will help get stalled talks back on track. They allow a negotiator to rebuild negotiating space for talk without the loss of face or bargaining power for either side.Read more »
- Change the time shape of performance. Not everything needs to be done now, next month or next year.
- Get the help of someone both sides can trust and respect to mediate the difference. That’s what the Chinese and Japanese do so effectively.
- Alter the risk factors that make it harder for one side or both to say “Yes.”
- Change the scope of work. There is always some room for give and take in the work to be done or the way it is done. Getting into the details serves to enlarge negotiating space and point the way to economies of effort.
- In most negotiations, as the end approaches, the sum of settled issues generally outstrips those that are not. Nobody at the table relishes the idea of walking out after so much has been accomplished. It pays to recapitulate all matters already settled and those still open. The balance usually favors moving on to closure.
- Determine if the gap that separates you can be bridged gradually: a little now, more later and completely next year.
- The best way, by far, to break an impasse is to collaborate with the other person to search for and discover a better arrangement for both sides. Change the mode of negotiating from the conventional competitive mode to one that is collaborative and Both-Win®; that is, coming from an essentially self-centered mode to one that fosters mutual gain.