022-Getting to Yes: Negotiation for non-negotiators (part 2 of 2)

022-Getting to Yes: Negotiation for non-negotiators (part 2 of 2)

Negotiation is part of what we do every day – from negotiating for the best project resources to negotiating what you and your significant other are going to have for dinner. But for those of us who don’t feel like natural negotiators, how can we learn to negotiate in a way that helps us address our needs while not risking the long term relationships?

That’s where the Harvard Negotiation Project comes in! One of our favorite business books, “Getting to Yes,” is a quick and easy read which can give you some great tools to help negotiation in business and life.

In our previous episode, we covered the method – and in this one, we discuss the “what if’s”  – what if ‘they’ don’t want to play by the rules? Or don’t want to negotiate?

We hope you dig this enough to go out and get your own copy of this great book! (No, we aren’t getting paid to say that – we just really dig it and want to support the authors.)

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Show Notes

Let’s continue on our Getting to Yes – Negotiation for Non-negotiators series. This episode is based on the book Getting to Yes, written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our previous episode, we covered the 4-part methods – and in this one, we’ll discuss the “what if’s”  – what if ‘they’ don’t want to play by the rules? Or don’t want to negotiate?

What if they are more powerful? BATNA [7:48]

We normally go negotiate with a “Bottom Line” to protect ourselves. But, this is not the best approach, because it limits us. A good deal could slip our hands if we are not open to options and negotiations. Rather than trying to set a bottom line, what we want to figure out is our BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement).

You need to know your BATNA before you go in a negotiation. This is so you don’t stand on uncertain ground or have fear thinking what would happen if you couldn’t negotiate a good agreement. This awkward situation could push you to agree on a negotiation which is not best for you or your team.

Another approach to consider is Trip-wire. This is a related concept which is somewhere between bottom-line and BATNA. However, trip-wire is not a hard stop, but an agreed point. One example is if you had a real-estate agent negotiation, you said “If they want to do a deal that’s any more than $200 000, call me to discuss.” Trip-wire, like BATNA, is a great way to empower the people you’re working with, because it allows them to get something done within your expectations while having the freedom to be creative with options.

The key to making BATNA and Trip-Wire work is you have to figure it out before you go in the negotiation. In addition, your BATNA doesn’t have to be just one thing – you should have a couple alternatives on hand to consider.

When going into a negotiation, a situation where you’ll be investing time and effort or coming to agreement on something, you need to prepare for what will happen if not everything works out. This will free your mind from thinking about your best alternative when you should focus on how to come to an agreement.

Information is king in these types of conversations.

Negotiation Jiu-Jitsu – Don’t fall for the position [16:22]

Positional bargaining is not optimal for either side- but, what if they don’t get that? What if they state their position, and hard-line it? If this happens, talk about the position in a way that focuses on interests, and not positions. While attacking or creating a position could be tempting, you need to avoid it.

The more you attack, the harder it will be for the other party to get into their position. Instead, shift your focus on the interests of both sides. Don’t reject their position – but don’t accept it either. Look behind their position and ask Why?  Then, negotiate with the why, not the position. Start with an assumption that there is a valid reason for their position to try and figure it out.

Key Phrases to Use and When [20:36]

  • Please correct me if I’m wrong – If you know the other party is wrong or off-fact
  • We appreciate what you’ve done – If you want to insinuate guilt
  • Our concern is fairness – If one side is being greedy
  • We would like to settle this on the basis of independent standards, not what it will do for whom – If you have opinionated stakeholders
  • Trust <or whatever> is a separate issue – If the other side is pointing out a different and unrelated area
  • Can I ask a few questions to see if my facts are right? – When someone is in disagreement to your suggestion
  • What are you basing <position> on? – To politely ask where someone got the data
  • Let me see if I understand what you are saying… – To repeat facts
  • Let me get back to you – Alternative or in addition to “I don’t know”
  • Let me show you where I have some trouble following your reasoning – If the other side’s reasoning doesn’t follow well
  • One fair solution might be…- To present a different option if your idea was not approved
  • If we agree…. If we disagree… – Objectively put in the table what’s at stake

What if they try dirty tricks [28:39]

People usually ignore dirty tricks and try not to rock the boat with the expectation that giving in will help move ahead. But the book suggests that this does not work with this kind of situation.

What does Getting to Yes suggest?

If the other side is playing dirty, the book says to “Call it out”.

  1. Recognize what’s going on; pay attention
  2. Explicitly call it out
  3. Question its legitimacy and desirability, and continue negotiating

Sample questions and phrases to use:

  • Why are you committing yourself to such an extreme position?
  • Are you trying to protect yourself from criticism?
  • Are you protecting yourself from changing your position?
  • Is there a theory behind you putting me in a seat directly under the AC vent to make me uncomfortable during this negotiation?
  • Shall we alternate forgetting to order lunch for each other each day to ensure we are equally uncomfortable during the negotiation?

These suggestions may lead to a direct confrontation which is a tough one for women in the minority groups. Especially when they are already dealing with so much insidious stuff that happens day to day.

Good thing we have BATNA – if things  are going off-track, if they are playing dirty tricks on you, or trying to put you in an uncomfortable position, you can say:

“It’s my impression that you aren’t interested in negotiating an agreement that’s fair and equitable, so we’re going to end the negotiation for now. When you are interested in doing so, here’s my number.”

Examples of Dirty Tricks and How to Handle Them:

  1. Deception -. Don’t trust anyone’s information, unless they are verified.
  2. Adding Stress on purpose -Identify if you are feeling stress, acknowledge it, then call it out.
  3. Personal Attacks – Call it out
  4. Good cop/Bad cop – Call it out
  5. Threats – Record it so it can be shared if needed

Recommended Response to Dirty Tricks

  1. Don’t give in to the tactics- you don’t have to because you know your BATNA
  2. Keep cool and call it out
  3. Focus on the issues, not the positions

Takeaways [41:34]

Key Probing Questions:

  • Are you uncomfortable? If so, why?
  • Is the other side playing tricks or ‘unfair’ games?
  • Do you know your BATNA before you go in?

You may be in trouble if…

  • You don’t like the terms, but feel pressured to accept them
  • You don’t know what happens if you don’t come to an agreement, and are afraid to walk away
  • You feel like the rules keep changing during the negotiation
  • The other side has a position they are fighting for, and you don’t understand why they have that position

Principles for Success

  1. Know your BATNA
  2. Negotiation over interests, not positions – don’t play that game

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    Kim Essendrup

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