How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Creating a Constructive Negotiation Climate
A constructive climate has four main attributes that you can deliberately work on to build a situation where you can successfully work with others towards an agreeable conclusion.
A basis of all negotiation is trust, and is particularly important in constructive, collaborative negotiation. And perhaps the most under-rated yet powerful way to trust is by showing active care and concern for the other person and their interests.
Concern starts with greetings, showing a genuine interest in the person. It continues during the negotiation, seeking to understand and sympathize with their needs and constraints. It does not mean that you become overly concessionary, giving in just because the other person seems to need something more.
Collaborative negotiation means working with the other person rather than against them. It means being constructive, seeking to build rather than destroy. This is in contrast with competitive methods that work on a zero sum, win-lose model. When you work collaboratively with others, they are more likely to work collaboratively with you, both now and in the future.
Just because the negotiation is collaborative it does not mean discussions can drift or delays be allowed to slow progress to a crawl. Always seek to keep things moving at a steady pace, although without using this as a pressure technique.
Keep things brisk by breaking things down into bite-sized chunks and making note of each success as it is achieved. This gives a shared sense of progress that feels good and create a desire to keep up the string of good feelings.
If you are moving briskly in the wrong direction then you will quickly get nowhere. It is always important to keep your eye on the goal and move steadily in that direction. This does not mean you cannot be social (which, done well, can be very helpful in creating rapport).
To achieve focus, agree the overall purpose and specific goals of the meeting up-front, then notice when the conversation is drifting and firmly but gently bring things back on topic.
Scott, B. (1988). Negotiating Constructive and Competitive Negotiations, Paradigm Publishing