Negotiating Successfully

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This is the alleged transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and a Canadian maritime contact off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995.

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees north to avoid a collision

Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees south to avoid collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US navy ship; I say again divert your course.

Canadians: No. I say again you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THATS ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: We are a lighthouse; your call.

An example of how not to negotiate

Here are some of the ways that you can ensure a successful negotiation

Preparation
Consider what your needs are and the other persons. Think about outcomes that would meet more of what you both want. Do not be afraid of finding creative and innovative solutions

Win/win or win/lose
A win /win approach is an integrative approach where both sides will benefit. Win/lose where each side is trying to achieve maximum gains and impose maximum losses is inherently unstable. In real life often the two approaches are at work which creates tension. Experienced negotiators will usually adopt the win/win approach as the stability of the outcome and the long term relationship are more important than maximum concessions.

Pay attention to detail
Misunderstandings are potential time bombs set to go off just when agreement is in sight. Be explicit on the points you are discussing and focus initially on primary objectives so you stay focused. Be very clear what each side has to offer. Emphasise the common ground and the points that you both agree on.

Respond not react
Manage your emotions and make it possible for the other party to back down or change their position without being humiliated. Do not get caught up in game playing and remember it does not matter what others do operate with integrity and be true to yourself and your values.

And......
Aim for a negotiation where both sides benefit and if you cannot get that leave the door ajar for another time.

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