Negotiation Strategies and Conflict Resolution Skills

Negotiation is placing the opinions, the desires and the needs of all the parties involved side by side not face to face because all the parties have to be visible, heard and considered.

You are great in some areas and less great in others, therefore, start your negotiation by knowing what you’re dealing with and whom you’re dealing with. This will ensure that you don’t end up feeling stupid and lose your freedom to negotiate because only free people can negotiate.

Bare in mind that negotiation is not restricted to a business environment but also in your day to day life with your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and so on.

Keep reading; shortly I will tell you a few tips to implement in your negotiations that will improve your interpersonal skills, but first I want to bring you awareness about techniques that could be used against you to force you to “desire” a fast solution for the negotiation.

Techniques used against you to force you to want a quicker deal:

Making you feel uncomfortable

#1. Physically

  • Restricted or poor access to the bathroom after they filled you up with drinks.
  • Smoking.
  • Making the room too cold or too warm.
  • Offering you uncomfortable seating.
  • Loud noises/ sounds or smelly foods.

#2. Emotionally and psychologically

  • Speaking slowly or too fast or too loud.
  • Taking the discussions out of context to drag the time.
  • Using foul language, swearing, raising voice – not necessarily directed at you.
  • The good cop/ bad cop.

How to deal with people that are using such techniques against you to make you uncomfortable, to do whatever it takes just to get out of there, to sign the deal quickly:

Don’t take it personally. Whatever happens in the room or near to it take it as information and use it to your advantage. Pay attention, observe and notice.

Don’t ignore what is happening. Don’t pretend that is not happening or that is not bothering you.

Be gentle and calm about it, however, point out what is going on without pointing the finger. Make it about the “I”.
“I wonder what is your purpose in doing [so and so]?”
“When you [the bad behavior of the other party] I feel [uncomfortable, nervous, unease]. Are you doing it on purpose?”
“It bothers me that you are raising your voice. Maybe this is how you usually speak, yet I will be grateful to you to keep it down.”

Asking questions and pointing out the things that the other party is using, trying to manipulate you, will make those things ineffective and will be turned against them. Plus, your questions will bring the atmosphere to a calmer one, a more balanced one.

If you notice that the other party is continuing with malicious techniques, excuse yourself by simply saying something such as: “I see that we will not be able to come to an agreement today.”

Note: some people can make you feel uncomfortable unintentionally. Not everybody that has behaviors like the ones I’ve mentioned is doing it on purpose. Some people just don’t know how to behave or how to speak. Be the smarter person in the room!

Now we move on to:

A few tips to implement in your negotiations that will improve your interpersonal skills.

Set yourself up for success: expecting from yourself to win will shape your behavior towards winning – enter the negotiation with a positive mindset.

Start by assessing the situation:

Gather all the information you need to have to be in a strong position to negotiate.

Verify your information. Make sure that what you believe or know about the other party and what they want is accurate or close enough.

Remember that people don’t have the exact information you have and that you need to validate their opinions and view to winning them on your side.

“I’ve never thought of [that] this way,” or “[This] is an interesting point of view.”

Plus, accommodate different perspectives at the negotiation table because different perspectives are creating solutions.

Expect the unexpected – don’t in prison yourself for the lack of options.

After you’ve assessed the situation,

Prepare your offer and/or request.

Find out the right party to negotiate with – there is no point to negotiate with the person that doesn’t have the authority to negotiate, to take decisions.

Set the place and time for the negotiation.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your goal?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Why are you asking?
  • What are you asking?
  • From who are, you asking?
  • For who are you asking?

When preparing your proposition, include information that represents what you want from two perspectives:

  1. the logic one – the facts
  2. the emotional one – your feelings.

Back up your proposal by:

  • making comparisons,
  • presenting statistics,
  • sharing experiences – how you justify what and how much you’re asking.

Take into consideration factors that can influence the outcome of your negotiation, factors such as the following:

  • the culture,
  • the background,
  • the education,
  • the story/ history.

Know your leverages that can give you a better deal than the standard offer. What can you bring into the negotiation that other people can’t?

For example: when renting an apartment to ask for a lower price, you can argue that you don’t smoke or you don’t have pets, or you are out of town most days or whatever else that is unique about you to the advantage of the other party.

The point is to prepare an offer that people can’t say no to even when you don’t meet their criteria (in our example to pay the full asking price for the rent.) Tap into the motivation, individual gain, interests, desires and the vanity of the other party.

Set guidelines for yourself:

You need to be courageous to say NO! and to make no concessions about certain things. Know from the start what are those things that are a deal breaker for you.

Be prepared to walk away – not every deal will be good enough for you. Refuse what you don’t want otherwise is not a negotiation anymore.

Don’t negotiate from a fearful position: “If I don’t agree, people will refuse my offer/request.”

How much are you willing to pay for something?

The principles for a win-win negotiation:

1. Separate people from the situation, problem, issue.

Each person is a whole universe. Treat people with respect, dignity, empathy and compassion.

2. Focus your attention on the interests of the other party and not on their position, what they say they want.


(At the emotional intelligence section you’ve discovered that people are taking decisions driven by their emotions, so it makes sense to appeal first to their emotions and only second to their reasons.)

Possible interests:
(how does it serve their lives obtaining what they want.)

  • hidden desires,
  • concerns,
  • fears,
  • pleasures,
  • vanity.

3Explore the options for mutual gain.

Listen to all the options presented without criticism or dismissal. Be open to considering every solution or option, then explore and evaluate them together.

4. Introduce independent standards.

Independent standards are objective criteria for what each party wants, and they can be used as a way to measure the options and to define the limits of fairness.

5. Know what your best option available is if the negotiation fails and you can’t come to an agreement.

What is your best solution to move forward if:
1. Things are remaining the same
2. Each party goes in a different direction

Discussions, the bargaining and face to face negotiation.

The objectives of the negotiation– What are the goals of the parties involved?

Be reasonable with your goal especially with the people you love, but make your proposition a bit higher than what you actually want to have room to settle for less.

Listen effectively for the purpose of:
  1. showing to the other party that you are interested in them, their point of view, in their proposal,
  2. understanding the other party’s point of view,
  3. discovering possible leverages for you,

Share information and ask the other party to add notes or new ideas.

Identify the common goals and interests and ask for the confirmation that you understood correctly.

How to deal with diverging interests and goals:

Satisfy the need or the goal of the other party in a different way – use their priorities list.
For example, their children’s safety is a priority and by comparison, the car to look good, is not.

Ask for help and open the door for concessions.

“I want [this] but is too expensive for me, so I need some help.”
“I was really hoping to […], yet I can’t do it the way you are proposing. Can you help me?”
(Formulating your statement in the past tense “I was” implies that your hope or desire is almost dead and by asking you are giving the other party the opportunity to be the hero and save your hope or desire.)

Negotiate more than one issue at the time because it gives you leverage to make concessions on one issue and gain more in others.
“If you agree with me on this issue, then I will agree with you on that issue.” (“If you […] then I will […].)

Don’t blame the other party. When it comes to negotiation: the guilt, the fault, and the blame are left out of the room.

Draw the conclusions of the negotiation, finalizing the deal:

  • Periodically make a recap of the things you’ve already agreed upon and what is left to agree on.
  • Who is getting what and in what conditions?
  • Who is doing what and when?
  • What happens if things go wrong after the agreement have been made.

Conflict resolution

Define your expectations about the situation and pay attention how is affecting your behavior.

We sometimes want people to fail us, especially those that we have a conflict with because then we can justify the way we want to treat them, we can justify our opinion, we can justify our lack of interest or willingness to make concessions.

If you start from this mindset, you find fault in what people are doing even if they do right because you need to justify your behavior or lack of action.
The need to justify is coming from the fact that we want to feel better, smarter and wiser compared to the person we are in conflict with.

In return, the other person has the same need to justify himself/ herself and will expect you to fail. Whatever you do, he/she will find fault, and they will be happy about it.

This adversity gives us pleasure because we might think “Ah, how right I was!” and we feel justified not to change our behavior, attitude or actions; we have the habit to maintain what we help to create.

When you find yourself in a conflict, bare in mind that you can’t control the behavior of others, but the right setting for a talk can control the behavior of the people involved.

Plus, put your vanity aside – having your vanity as the purpose is the best way to lose.

How to set the stage for a talk to solve a conflict:

  • chose a neutral space to talk,
  • how much time the parties are giving to this discussion,
  • respect – people take turns to speak and to present their complaint/ point of view,
  • brief – each individual talks on the subject and keeps it short,
  • those involved take notes and point out the progress and what is left to be solved,
  • invite people to share positive stories about moments or situations when they felt good about this relationship,
  • accept diversity – people are entitled to their opinion and way of life.

Find out what is the common ground.

Start with the intention and the goal of each party and go up to the intention and the goals of the group.

Repeat and paraphrase what the parties involved in the conflict are saying to make sure you understand correctly what they want.

Find out:
1. the story behind the conflict
2. the history and the experiences of this type of situation of each party involved in the conflict

Don’t judge, play dumb, start from innocence.

I want to remind you that:

First, any conflict you’re involved in starts with you. Not in the sense that you caused it, but in the sense that if you take the responsibility for it, it is in your hands to solve it.

Second, you have conflicts within yourself all the time and yet, no part of you have left the negotiating table: “In one hand I feel this way and, on the other hand, I feel this way.”

Any other conflict is pretty much almost the same thing. One party wants something, and the other party wants something else. Plus each party comes from a different perspective and sees things from a different angle, but things can be solved, only if all the parties involved are willing to stay and solve them together.

Upgrade, improve and discover more about interpersonal skills by checking

The Core Interpersonal Skills

Chapters:

1. Interpersonal Skills

2. Emotional Intelligence

3. Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

4. Communication Skills

5. Influence Skills

6. Assertiveness Skills

7. Personal support system