Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 10:44 am on

Well-known authors have written tons of books and articles on the art of negotiation. While negotiation by its nature tends to be adversarial, in my own career I have taken a non-confrontational approach which has been very successful:

  • All discussions, promises and intents must be governed by honesty and integrity. Never sacrifice principles or core beliefs.
  • When you approach negotiations, commit your efforts to produce a WIN/WIN result. Doing so will improve your chances of a satisfactory outcome.
  • Communication is a two-way process! Listening is as important as making your own thoughts known.
  • Learn everything possible about the other party’s business and personal life. Know what affects his or her thinking.
  • Define in detail your needs and expectations in advance of any discussions with the other party. Prioritize them and memorize them.
  • Anticipate and understand the needs of the other party. Giving before you are asked fosters trust and encourages reciprocal action.
  • Meet equally on each other’s turf. Summoning everyone around your desk makes you the center of attention and lessens the other party’ cause.
  • Volunteer to have your attorney generate the contract and make the subsequent revisions. Make sure the contract includes detailed recitals to clarify the intent of both parties. The tone of the language in a contract can bring an end to negotiations. Challenge your attorney on issues that you view as being superficial and overly restrictive to the other party. Read and approve the proposed contract or revisions yourself before they are submitted to the other party.
  • With international negotiation, the "Ugly American" attitude will kill the deal. In Japan, knowing where to sit is as important as the discussions themselves. Respect the culture and customs of the other party. Learn and use phrases of politeness in the language of the other party. Learn something about the culture. Avoid showing your impatience - our pace is almost always faster than that of any other country.
  • While you may not be in agreement on one or more issues, end your sessions on good terms leaving the door open for further meetings.
  • In spite of the best efforts on all sides, there will be occasions when a deal cannot be made. If this is the case and you have followed the above rules, the deal is not in your best interests.

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