Jan 082014
 

Tips for Establishing the Right Tone

  • Make sure that refreshments will be available. Never underestimate the value of “breaking bread” to establish a working relationship.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of small talk at the beginning – it helps make everyone feel less defensive, and more cooperative and communicative.
  • Even in a zero-sum negotiation, small talk helps you get to know the other side better  and it makes you better able to judge when the other negotiator is being truthful.
  • Take your cue from what the small talk reveals about the other negotiator’s style and manner.
  • If the other side is more formal, don’t speak too casually – they may interpret this as a lack of seriousness on your part.
  • If the other side is decidedly informal, speak in a more casual way, perhaps using reference to a current event with which they are familiar.
If you have tips and comments on this topic, please add them below. Let us know if you have suggestions for other posts. 
Jan 082014
 

Tips for Getting Negotiations Off to a Good Start

  • In your opening remarks, try to relieve tension that is undoubtedly there by expressing respect for the other side’s experience and expertise. Frame the task positively, as a joint endeavor. Emphasize your openness to the other side’s interests and concerns.
  •  After the opening remarks, start with the agenda; make sure both parties have a common understanding of the issues to be discussed.
  • Explicitly discuss the process. Make no presumptions about how the negotiation should work since people often hold different opinions about this. Some presume that there will be haggling. Some expect proposals to be made at the outset, while others expect an open discussion of issues to come first. 
  • Listen carefully to the discussion of process – it will tell you a great deal about the other side’s negotiations style.
  • Offer to explain some of your interests and concerns first. This is a good-faith demonstration that you are prepared to disclose information, provided that the exchange is reciprocal.
If you have tips and comments on this topic, please add them below. Let us know if you have suggestions for other posts.