Rob Bedwell at The Gap Partnership provided a fascinating insight into the world of negotiation techniques and best practice, in a lunchtime masterclass with one of my clients today.
It really started me wondering if best practice negotiation is competitive or collaborative. What do you think? How would you most comfortably and authentically negotiate? Is there a best way to negotiate? Do you have to be authentic as long as the eventual outcome is win win?

It’s clear we should choose an appropriate set of behaviours in the context of the negotiation and the role we are playing in the organisation we are representing.

“Time and circumstance control the value in every deal” said Rob. So wherever we are in the negotiation process we must invariably consider the other party’s pressures and influences. We should remember to sell what the other wants to buy, rather than worry so much about our own agenda. This is The Law of Reciprocity. It’s worth Googling this if you are serious about developing your own negotiation skills and prowess.

So our role in negotiation is to figure out and resolve

– what’s the best deal the third party can give me?

– what are the circumstances in which they could do this?

As you question and listen to the answers, can you give the other something of value to them, in return for something of at least an equivalent value back to you?

But what is value? Something of value to you may be very different to me.

A clear way forward from the outset is to agree both the agenda and the terms of engagement before the throes of negotiation ensue. Clarify what’s the real deal.

So the most important part of a successful negotiation and perhaps greater than the traditionally sought win-win, is the ideal of an interdependent relationship. Because that of course is sustainable long after the negotiation has concluded.

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