AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum | January/February 2016 | Volume 20, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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24 AALL SPECTRUM | WWW.AALLNET.ORG A Negotiation Primer: First Things First Frame of mind is critical to setting the tone of the negotiation. To get your head in the game, you need to think about a few things first. Components: Commodity, Relationship, and Credibility Negotiations are rarely simply about the issue on the table. Unless you are buying an antique sugar bowl from a vendor at a flea market, the chances are good that your negotiation is about much, much more than the object at hand. In fact, it consists of at least three components: commodity (the thing you are negotiating for), rela- tionship (the connections you have with the other person), and credibility (how good you and the other party are perceived when you talk about the outcome with other people). Union negotiations oen appear argumentative, with parties on both sides of the table engaging in some- times loud and aggressive behavior. It may be uncomfortable to watch, but the parties understand that credibil- ity is sometimes the most important part of the negotiation. What can management and union bosses tell their constituents about how hard they negotiated? Was there shouting? Did people walk out? It's all part of the negotiation. Commodities (wages, benefits, work rules) are also important in these negotiations. Unfortunately, sometimes the relationship suffers when the focus is on the credibility and commodities. Experienced negotiators understand the importance of all three compo- nents when it comes to negotiations. It is tempting to focus on commodity at the expense of relationships and credibility, but they are all equally important. Is there a chance you will meet this person again? en you need to consider the relationship. Is the other party accountable to someone else? en credibility will be at play. Even when negotiating for the smallest thing, keep all three components of a negotiation in mind. Strategy: The Importance of a "Win-Win" Approach "Win-win" sounds like a platitude used by someone with power to help some- one without power accept an unpopu- lar decision. In negotiations, however, it refers to a particular concentration on the relationship component of a negotiation. ere are almost no "one- shot deals" out there any more. Even the vendor with the sugar bowl at the flea market will have a relationship with you if he has something else you want to buy next week. If you make an uneven deal initially, it is likely that you or he will attempt to get even the following week. It's a small world, and with peo- ple shiing jobs and organizations frequently, it is not unthinkable that working relationships from past positions will resurface in the future. Because of the likelihood of engaging the other party again, researchers in negotiations recommend taking a win-win approach to negotiations. It is the surest path to greater returns for both parties over time. Plus, it is much easier to shi to a sterner, more competitive approach if win-win isn't working than the other way around. Go in assuming the other person wants to make a good deal, too. And, if they don't, you can always shi strategy and play hardball. Process: No Need to Rush Before going into a negotiation, take a deep breath and remember: negotiat- ing is a process that is going to unfold over time—possibly over several meetings. Early meetings may be about gathering and sharing information and building an understanding of the playing field. In later meetings, you can place more emphasis on strategies for getting what you want. Rushing a negotiation to conclusion, however, is a good way to leave value on the table. Even when you think you have a deal—don't take it! ank the other party for working with you, and then take a break. Review the outcome, and be sure that everything you wanted is included in the deal. And if every- thing is not there, be sure that is toler- able to you. Too oen, people accept a deal in the heat of the moment only to realize later that they never discussed one of your important issues. Pitfalls: Avoiding Common Mistakes Before beginning any negotiation, remember to avoid key mistakes. If you see one of the following common mistakes unfolding during a discus- sion, you can identify it, and redirect the action: ¡ ¡ inking everything will be resolved during the first meeting. e more complex the issue, the more likely you will need to meet multiple times. Even buying a sugar bowl at the flea market may require that you walk away once and come back to strengthen your hand. ¡ ¡ Playing too much of your hand too early. e rule of "cautious coop- eration" states that the win-win approach requires reciprocity. Are you giving information and getting information in return? Are you mak- ing a concession to win a concession? Win-win negotiations are never one-sided. ¡ ¡ Using aggressive tactics too early in the process. Some people think that tactics such as threats or leaving the table are strategic, but mostly they are annoying. Let the negoti- ation bully have his or her say, and then respond, "Well, you could do that, but then we wouldn't get the If you take your time, plan ahead, and manage your emotions, negotiating doesn't have to be an emotional rollercoaster. ... It can be approached as a problem to be solved.

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