What is it that makes a person an effective negotiator? What is it that characterizes the best negotiators?
- An effective negotiator always keeps the goals of the organization in mind. This requires clear guidance from the upper ranks of the organizations. So in this case an effective negotiator is “made” by smart and clearly enunciated directions communicated from their senior management.
- An effective negotiator listens. At the beginning of any negotiation both parties must deal with uncertainty. The effective negotiator strives to clarify the issues, ascertain what is important to the other side, learn the other side’s BATNA, and their reservation point. This requires a dialogue and not a series on monologues.
- An effective negotiator is prepared. I don’t need to say a lot more. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
- The effective negotiator works to create value for both sides. She/he must be help the other side see the benefits of a win-win solution. The best negotiators reject the impulse to try to seek a zero-sum solution.
- The effective negotiator knows that the issue being negotiated should be the focus of the negotiation. They separate the people from the problem. They are tough on the problem and they are soft on the people.
- The effective negotiator knows that they will need to overcome the barriers to an agreement. By figuring out what the obstacles are and then coming with a way to neutralize them, the effective negotiator secures an agreement. He/she realizes that in many cases the key to a solution is to build a strong coalition in support of their position.
- The effective negotiator is first and foremost a person who can be trusted, who is ethical, and has built a reputation for those traits. Trust is the glue of a successful negotiation. Lose trust and you are guaranteed to be an ineffective negotiator.