PRINCIPLES OF NEGOTIATION
Human beings are confronted daily with the challenges of coping
successfully when having exchanges in the course of inter-personal
existence. Exchanges which could be both ordinary and extraordinary
largely define the quality of human lives. The bottom line of such exchanges
is that we either gain or lose in the process, and this depends on our
mastery of techniques and principles of negotiation.
Negotiation is indeed an integral part of bargaining process. It is essential
one establishes a set of criteria for the goal to be achieved in any social
At the beginning of any negotiation, it is necessary one establishes some
criteria, set out achievable and measurable goals and try to offer good
rationales behind the set goals.
Of course, negotiation is a means to an end but it is not an end in itself.
What negotiation does is to make the possible probable. Another tactical
aspect of negotiation is the taking of positions, or making offers or
proposals. The opening position or offer in a negotiation will detail the
Obviously, each criterion, each goal you reveal in a negotiation should be
accompanied by a rationale. Offering rationale is a tactic that turns your
problems, your interests, your hopes into your opponents or the other
Negotiation also requires a game plan part of which is the establishment of
common ground. Indeed, common ground is extremely important because
your opponent’s willingness to concede goal objectives is usually
proportionate to the common ground that has been established between
you. Generally, until maximum amount of common ground has been
established, it is a good idea to refrain from pressing any primary goal
objectives that you feel will be difficult for the other party to accept.
Style a person adopts in negotiation matters to the success achievable. In
this context, style is the general way a person conducts him/herself in a
negotiation. Intimidation can occasionally be useful, but only at selected
moments. Style can include intimidation, but it also includes persuasion,
surprise, amiability, articulation, secretiveness, diversion among others.
The location in which you negotiate can be significant in several ways. One
of the ways is that the location might reveal the financial or other
circumstances of one of the parties – circumstances that can be used to
shape your opponents strategy and tactics. The effect of location as it
relates to negotiating strategy is largely psychological.
Time is also a vital component of strategy in negotiation. If a negotiation
begins too soon, your opponent’s expectations may be too high to effect
any significant compromise or concessions. It is generally true in all
negotiating situations that the passage of time makes opponents willing to
be more flexible in the concessions they make. Somehow, one’s
expectations decline when time passes without any positive action.
Simultaneous negotiation can be one of the most useful tactics available to
ensure maximum goal achievement. Of equal importance is the fear of
setting bad precedence. In many negotiating situations, the concern of the
respective parties over precedent-setting nature of particular goal
concessions will be a substantial factor in the parties’ willingness to make
The fait accompli or “thing accomplished” is a tactic whereby one party
unilaterally completes an exchange or presents a goal compromise as
accomplished fact and hopes the other party will agree to it. A fait accompli
is also useful in the contractual phase of a negotiation.
The use of legal threat could assist the negotiator in reaching a compromise
with the other party. The threat of instituting a legal action/litigating is
often used to begin or end a negotiation.
In the inner game of negotiation, the basic elements are simply
concentration, confidence and relaxation. The personality of the
negotiators or parties to negotiation also matters in assessing the outcomes
of exchanges in bargaining situations.