January 22, 2018
101

101: Negotiations

They happen in boardrooms, hallways, lawyers' offices and in car dealerships. They are, of course, negotiations – seen by many as a means to an end to wrap up a transaction of some sort, ideally involving give and take on both sides. Here are some ways to better negotiate with another party.

Code word: BATNA.

BATNA is a "Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement," a term coined by authors Roger Fisher and William Ury. In other words, what is the most you will give in negotiation and the least you will accept? In a LinkedIn post on negotiation, Tania Gomez says it's crucial to know your BANTA – and beyond. "It is what we are going to do if we cannot reach agreement and how good that option will be for us," she writes. "We must also know our counterpart's BATNA."

Get creative.

A person who is skilled at negotiations can develop and present myriad options, writes Deborah M. Kolb at Harvard Business Review. "When you present many ideas, you're framing the negotiation in a way that encourages the other party to join … consider what matters to your counterpart and find multiple ways to satisfy both of you," she advises. When coming up with options, it helps to try and think of what reasons the other side could have for turning down any of your suggested arrangements.

Shhhhhh.

Jeff Haden of Inc.com is a fan of listening more than you talk during negotiations. "If you make an offer and the seller says, 'That is way too low,' don't respond … The seller will start talking in order to fill the silence. Maybe he'll list reasons why your offer is too low. Maybe he'll share why he needs to make a deal so quickly." This silence can yield fruit in the form of usable information.

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