by Bob MacKenzie

The ten commandments of negotiation

Although negotiation can often seem complex and daunting, you can ease your way through all its twists and turns if you follow the ten simple guidelines listed below.

  1. Constantly ask yourself ‘Is this situation a potential or actual negotiation?
  2. Always prepare as carefully as you can.
  3. Always work out your – and the other party’s – BATNA, EATNA and/or WATNA as best you can.
  4. Never assume value. Value is uniquely constructed and assigned by each party. What might seem worthless to you may be very important for the other party, and vice versa. So try to identify the value that the other party might place on what you have to offer, and also establish what they have that would be valuable to you.
  5. Listen and observe carefully. Look for negotiating clues, hints and signals. These can be verbal or non-verbal.
  6. Aim for win-win, if at all possible.
  7. Don’t be afraid to call for time out, if you need to consult, reflect, consider next steps or calm down before re-engaging in negotiations.
  8. Write down the agreement, and obtain confirmation from the other party that this is exactly what has been agreed. Provisional or draft agreements are often subject to fine-tuning through further negotiations. Have the final version of your written agreement witnessed by a third party, if necessary.
  9. Celebrate success appropriately with the other party and within your own negotiating team.
  10. Learn lessons from this negotiation, and start preparing for your next set of negotiations, which will be upon you before you can catch your breath!

Best wishes for a win-win outcome!