Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents with, Dealing with Difficult People, a FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
What are Difficult Negotiations?
Often the most difficult negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives.
Some of the most difficult negotiations happen when a dispute occurs between family and friends, but it is possible to solve a conflict with negotiation skills. The same mutual gains and integrative negotiation techniques you use in business work in personal negotiations, as well.
By listening closely to the concerns and feelings expressed by a family member or friend, and understanding their perspective, one can begin to rebuild trust, a key component in any relationship.
In his book, Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Daniel Shapiro, Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, emphasizes that understanding the other party’s key concerns is essential in difficult negotiations involving powerful emotions. When both parties understand these core concerns, emotions can become an asset rather than an obstacle. This is as true in personal negotiations as it is when dealing with high-stakes international conflict.
But how should you approach difficult negotiations with potential negotiating partners who are dishonest negotiators, or whom you don’t entirely trust—or should you deal with them at all?
There are several common deceptions you may come across in difficult negotiations such as this. Among them, an escalation of commitment.
You may find you’ve made a significant investment, such as considerable time or an up-front payment, before you’ve agreed on a deal. The other party may be aware that you (like most people) will be less willing to walk away and admit defeat after sinking resources into the negotiation. When faced with such a bargaining strategy, remember that such “sunk costs” are gone forever—and that there’s no shame in walking away from a shady deal.
To find out more, you can download a complimentary copy of our special report, Dealing with Difficult People, right now!
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