Let’s start at the centre of every negotiation, at its heart. It is there that we find the crucial element—you! Your approach to negotiation and your success in it, and how you will feel afterwards about what you have achieved are essentials that cannot be overlooked. Every negotiation you are involved in begins with you. Whether you are negotiating something on your own and for yourself, or whether you are a professional negotiator, the whole process starts with you.
It is also true that while each of us negotiates all the time, many of us haven’t thought much about what it is we do when we negotiate. We get by on a style or approach that we have developed based on our particular experience and many of us just fly by the seat of our pants. Actually, most negotiators fall into one of two types; those who measure success by winning, and those who measure success by not losing. Negotiators in the first group do everything they can to break the other side’s bottom line, to get the last dollar they can extract from the other party. They believe the other person must move, not them. The second type of negotiator is preoccupied with avoiding losing. They try to resist moving too much or making too many concessions. Success for this type of negotiator means not losing; it means getting out with a deal that is, at the very least, just a little better than one’s bottom line.
This book presents you with an approach to negotiation that improves upon either of these two main styles. There is an alternative to believing that success means winning, in the sense of winning that we have just outlined, or when success means having been able to avoid losing.
This book attempts to give the reader a fairly comprehensive view of the big picture, offering an overall framework for conducting negotiations. It also raises and answers some of the tough and commonly asked questions in a style that hopefully is easy and enjoyable to read. What I mean by the “big picture” is a type of overview that lets you see the whole forest, including the conflict and a path to get through it, even though we will have paused to take a pretty close look at some of the trees. You are presented with an overall framework and we also discuss certain critical points in detail. This is a negotiator’s handbook; your companion to effective negotiation.