December 09, 2009

Critical Factors for Effective Negotiation

Expert negotiator, Herb Cohen (who settled the NFL player strike and advised two presidents), says there are three crucial variables for every negotiation. Without these, you are likely to lose.
  • Power -- If you have the ability to get things done you’ll have more power during negotiations. Power also comes from perceived expertise or legitimacy, empathy, precedence, persistence, attitude, and persuasion.
  • Time -- The side with the most time generally has an advantage. Patience pays. No matter how pressed you are, you should always keep your cool, maintaining an appearance of calm.
  • Information -- The more you know, the better your position. Do your research before negotiations begin. And during negotiations, act on whatever new info comes to light.
Cohen also suggests other factors and tactics to consider: detachment; competition; playing dumb; asking “what if?”; silence; and sunk costs. This advice, which is available in a book, would be valuable for Ombuds coaching visitors to handle their own negotiations. (Get Rich Slowly.)

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