There have been thousands of books written on the subject of negotiation, and hundreds of them have been on the New York Times and other bestseller lists.
From nearly a quarter of a century of negotiating over 10,000 deals, however, and to save you a lot of hours of reading, I have 2 basic negotiating strategies or systems:
- Know your position of power or leverage; if you are negotiating with a truly equal party, then it really is a matter of the agreement just seeming fair to both parties. [Put yourselves in their shoes!] However, if one party has a huge advantage or some piece of leverage over the other party, such as being a defendant in a lawsuit that you are attempting to settle, recognize that you are the underdog and that negotiations are not required by the plaintiff; until court-ordered, the other side does not even have to negotiate with you at all (through court instituted programs to settle matters outside the courtroom).
- I find that people employ one of two strategies for negotiation and it is best to know your style and figure out the other side’s style as early as possible in negotiations. Those styles simply put are: (a) putting all of your [major] points forward first or at one time or what I call the “one bite at the apple” approach, or (b) “nibbling” by attempting to drain all energy out of the other side. I strongly prefer to embrace (and for the other side to embrace) the “one bite at the apple approach.” In my experience, the nibbling approach only leads to hurt feelings and the position by the hurt party that the other party is dishonest and/or dishonorable. Under the “nibbling” approach, in my experience, an agreement is almost never reached and signed or if it is signed, there is often litigation over “hurt” feelings from the whole process should the tiniest matter go awry.
[This article is not to be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.]