Negotiation

by Bob MacKenzie

Preparing for the next negotiation (after)

After the formal closure of negotiations, you’ll naturally want to review, evaluate and reflect on the outcomes you’ve achieved, and decide upon any further action that’s required.

Dealing with doubts

Following the initial euphoria of reaching an agreement, it’s quite common to start having doubts about whether you made too many concessions. Even if you have achieved a successful win-win outcome, you may still sometimes feel that the other party has done better than you, so you start to feel dissatisfied with the outcome. These perceptions can happen for three main reasons:

  • One party’s preparation was better than the other’s
  • One party is more skilled at negotiation than the other
  • There is an inherent power differential between the parties.

Our satisfaction with outcomes is unstable

Another set of reasons for dissatisfaction arises from the unstable nature of satisfaction. Satisfaction is not a steady state, and it’s often quite common for at least one of the parties to agonise over negotiation outcomes once an agreement has been reached. (‘I’m sure I could have done better, if only...’; ‘If only I’d known that they were so keen to move, I could have knocked another £20K off the price we agreed for our house purchase.’)

What should you do in these circumstances?

Try to put those feelings behind you. It might help to try to re-open that particular set of negotiations, but it’s probably far better to aim to apply any lessons learnt from this experience to your next set of negotiations.

Learning from the experience

During and after each set of negotiations, you should always try to learn from them:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What could you do differently next time?

Then, get ready for your next set of negotiations, which will never be far away!

What have you learned?

What have you learned about your negotiating style and behaviour? What negotiating behaviours should you use in different circumstances to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in the long run?

Next time

Each party will have different preferred negotiation styles and expectations, for different reasons. You will have to be prepared to make flexible use of a repertoire of negotiation styles and behaviours, and to adjust your expectations as the negotiations unfold. Your aim is to develop ways of working that suit all parties.

You need to be flexible, principled and astute in your negotiation practices, and decide whether aggressiveness or assertiveness (independence), cooperation (interdependence) or submission (dependence) is the proper approach in the circumstances.

Exercise

You might like to revisit the questionnaire where you can rate Your negotiating skills. How has your score changed now that you have more experience?