About the Skill The essence of effective negotiation can be summarized in the following six recommendations.

About the Skill The essence of effective negotiation can be summarized in the following six recommendations.

Research your opponent. Acquire as much information as you can about your opponent’s interests and goals. What people must he or she appease? Solve What is his or her strategy? Solve This information will help you better understand your opponent’s behavior, predict his or her responses to your offers, and frame solutions in terms of his or her interests.  Begin with a positive overture. Research shows that concessions tend to be reciprocated and lead to agreements. As a result, begin bargaining with a positive overture—perhaps a small concession—and then reciprocate your opponent’s concessions.

3. Address problems, not personalities. Concentrate on the negotiation issues, not on the personal characteristics of your opponent. When negotiations become tough, avoid the tendency to attack your opponent. You disagree with your opponent’s ideas or position, not him or her personally. Separate the people from the problem and don’t personalize differences.

4. Pay little attention to initial offers. Treat an initial offer as merely a point of departure. Everyone needs an initial position, and initial positions tend to be extreme and idealistic. Treat them as such.

5. Emphasize win–win solutions. If conditions are supportive, look for an integrative solution. Frame options in terms of your opponent’s interests and look for solutions that allow your opponent, as well as you, to declare a victory.

6. Be open to accepting third-party assistance. When stalemates are reached, consider the use of a neutral third party—a mediator, an arbitrator, or a conciliator. Mediators can help parties come to an agreement, but they don’t impose a settlement. Arbitrators hear both sides of the dispute then impose a solution. Conciliators are more informal and act as a communication conduit, passing information between the parties, interpreting messages, and clarifying misunderstandings.

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