Insist on Using Objective Criteria Don’t take offers at face value. Try to figure out the objective reasoning behind the offer. Just asking about the reasoning makes the other person evaluate their position. Once they are in an evaluation mode, it opens up the floor for you to present your reasoning. With all the reasoning is on the table, insist on a fair process. Be ready to compromise between two equally worthy criteria.
Invent Options for Mutual Gain You can’t settle on a good outcome without having the right ideas. Separate your brainstorming from the decision process. Ban judgment and throw out the craziest ideas you can. Then use those ideas as launchpads for refinement. Try to understand why everyone came up with different ideas. Use these differences in values, believes, and interests to settle on an outcome. You can’t reach an agreement without differences.
Focus on Interest not Positions Negotiations start because both parties have an interest. They use their interests to develop a position. Conflict arises because each parties sees their position as the only way to succeed. And bot parties end up upset with each other or losing out on a lot of what they wanted. That entire situation can be avoided. Don’t come up with your position before you talk to the other person.
Separate the people from the problem It’s not enough to address the problem objectively. Every negotiation also involves people. With people come people problems that are separate from the main issue at hand. First off you need to understand the other parties perspective. They might not see things the same way. They might hold biases. Or they might feel like they didn’t get to participate in the process and are getting a solution force onto them.
The problem We negotiate every day. Everything from a pay raise, to what to have for dinner is a negotiation. The only thing that changes is the stakes. We generally view negotiations as having two outcomes. Either we give something up or we win by making the other person give something up. This is a sad zero sum view of the world. It’s the view of if there is a winner there must be a loser.