How to Negotiate Like A Pro In Long-term Negotiations

by Mary Greenwood - Date: 2007-01-06 - Word Count: 645 Share This!

Ever notice that negotiations usually go much better when there is a history of trust from previous successful negotiations? That is no accident. The good will that is built up over the years allows the other party to accept your positions at face value. However those negotiations can get flat and you might want to try something new as well. Here are some tips to build on that long term relationships during negotiations.

Look To The Past For Inspiration.

Usually I say look to the future, and that the past is called the past for a reason. That is because the usual negotiations are unsuccessful and the past may be a source of frustration and pain. However, when there is a history of successful negotiations, the negotiations themselves are a source for study. Try to analyze what has worked and what might need improvement. Even if you are pleased with the results, what could make the negotiations better? For example, you could ask questions like the following:

1. Was I prepared enough?

2. Did I give in too soon?

3. Were any mistakes made?

4. What worked and would I use that technique again?

5. What did not work and how can I improve?

Look To The Past for Pitfalls or Drawbacks

Even though successful negotiations predict further successful negotiations, negotiations with the same parties for several years do have some drawbacks or pitfalls. The negotiations can be predictable and even boring and the parties can become complacent. The parties anticipate what the other side is going to do so that there is no element of surprise. When it is time to close the deal, they are more likely just to split the difference. Negotiations repeated over the years can go flat. As they say, familiarity can breed contempt. If the parties know each other's moves, they can predict where the negotiations are going. Sometimes the negotiators just go through the motions and don't put much thought into the process. Each person has a role and they just go back and forth as they always have. Sometimes the expectations are fairly low and that can affect the bottom line

Try Something New

You might want to assign some different people to the negotiating team or pick a new chief negotiator to shake things up. You might want to add a new formula for the payment of fees. You might try to ask for something new this year, something you really want. You might start in a different order. Start with the important items if you have been starting with the easy items. Maybe you want to start all over again and start from scratch and build a new contract. This is fairly drastic but might be worth a try. If you are happy with last year's contract, then you might want to think of some brand new provisions. If you don't ask, you don't get.

Be Prudent

Even though you may want to try something new, be prudent on how you implement it. Don't risk everything just for the sake of trying something new. Experiment by trying one or two minor changes and see how it works. Don't allow years of successful negotiations to be jeopardized for the sake of innovation. You will need to assess the situation to see if the tried and true is still working or whether the parties have become complacent and need some new strategies at the negotiation table.

In conclusion, a long term negotiations are usually built on mutual trust and will likely predict good future negotiations. However, it will up to you to decide whether the parties are complacent and caught up in a routine or are already at their peak performance. You may have to try something new to put some new zest in the negotiations. Or you may want to continue the techniques that have worked in the past. The point is that there should be a review to determine the strategies for future negotiations.

Related Tags: conflict resolution, problem solving, negotiating, negotiations, mediation

Mary Greenwood, J.D., LL.M, Arbitrator, Mediator, Author of How to Negotiate like a Pro, 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes Available at Visit HOWTONEGOTIATE@AOL.COM, DIY Award 2006

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