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The Principles of Negotiations

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Authors says a good agreement is one which is effective and always improves relationship among parties, the same is been taught in this book.

All negotiation normally takes the form of positional bargaining, both Fisher and Ury argues that positional bargaining will not produce a good agreements because these type of agreements in negotiation will harm relationships among parties.

Principled negotiation provides a better way of reaching good agreements. Their process can be effectively used in any type of dispute.

The four principles of principled negotiations are:

  1. Separate people from the problem
  2. Focus on interests rather than positions
  3. Generate variety of options before reaching an agreements
  4. Insist that the agreement be based on objective criteria
    1. Separating people and Issues
    2. People tend to become personal with positions so separating them from the issues and positions will help to maintain relationships and get a clearer view on the problem. Author identifies basic sorts of people’s problem

      • Differences on perceptions among parties: The more the parties are involved in the process, the more likely they are to be involved in and to support outcome.
      • Emotions are the second source: Second step to deal with a negotiation very effectively is to acknowledge the feeling of each other. The parties must allow the other side to express the feeling.
      • Communication is the last source: Listening and speaking play alone with not serve effective negotiation. Active listening is the only source.
    3. Focus on interests
    4. Good agreements focus on the parties interests, rather than their positions. Defining a problem in the terms of positions means that at least one party will“lose” the dispute.

      First step to identity party’s interest is by questioning about their positions they hold. Once the parties have identified their interests, they must discuss them together. Parties should keep a clear focus on their interests, but remain open to different proposals and positions.

    5. Generate options
    6. Authors identifies four obstacles in generating creative options for solving a problem.

      1. It is important to separate the invention process from than evaluation stage.
      2. Brain storming stage can be made more creative and productive by encouraging the parties to shift between four types of thinking.
      3. Participants can avoid falling into a win-lose mentality by focusing on shared interests.
      4. Each side should try to make proposals that are appealing to the other side.
    7. Use Objective criteria
    8. The parties must agree which criteria is best for their situation. Criteria should be both legitimate and practical. Three important points using objective criteria that should be kept in mind

      1. Each issue should be approached as a shared search
      2. Each party should be open minded
      3. Negotiators must never be into pressure, threats or bribes.
    9. When other party is more powerful
    10. Weaker party should concentrate on assessing their best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). Weaker party should reject agreements that would leave them worse off than their (BATNA).

      Thus the party with best BATNA is the more powerful party in the negotiations. Generally the weaker party can take unilateral steps to improve their alternatives to improve negotiations. They must identify potential opportunities and take steps to further develop those opportunities.

    11. When other party won’t use principled negotiation
    12. Author described about three approaches for dealing with opponents who are stuck with positional bargaining.

      1. One side may simply continue to use the principled approach.
      2. The principled party may use “negotiation jujitsu” to bring the other party in line.
      3. The party should interview each side separately to determine that their underlying interests are.
    13. When other party uses dirty tricks
    14. Dirty tricks – While engaging in principled negotiation it is wise to establish procedural ground rules for the negotiation. Deliberate deception of facts should seek verification of other side claims.

      The principled negotiator should recognise positional pressure as a bargaining tactics and look to refuse it.

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