Negotiation, an aide-memoire

The lost art of negotiation?

the lost art of negotiationWhatever your view on Brexit, if like me you have ever been involved in negotiations, you probably despair at the media & political wittering about outlining the negotiation strategy. If these folks were on the payroll of a UK multinational they would have received a P45 long ago.

8 things to remember when negotiating

Many years ago I went on courses relating to negotiation techniques, even discussing in broad terms differing cultural approaches to negotiation, much of the detail has faded with time but a few things have stayed with me…

1. You are always stronger in a negotiation than you think you are.
2. Have a plan.
3. Understand your red lines.
4. Have a number of “Straw issues” that you can concede without damaging your position.
5. Don’t reveal your hand too early.
6. Both sides need to understand the rules
7. Be prepared to walk away from a bad deal. No deal is better than a bad deal.
8. There should be no winners or losers, real or perceived. (win/win)

Bad deals

We know that in political situations, all too often the last point goes out of the window and it all becomes about winning or losing, which is I guess why civil servants do it, not politicians, and it takes guts to actually walk away from a deal. Which is what David Cameron should have done way back last spring. You must always be prepared to walk away from a bad deal – it is true that “no-deal” is better than a bad deal

When to negotiate

One final thought – when does negotiation start? Well actually in a close relationship, such as a long term customer/supplier relationship, a marriage or even a political one – then actually negotiation never stops, and if the media or politicians don’t actually realise this then they really ought not to be in the jobs they are. If they do then they need to understand just who’s side they are on, or should be.