What are Negotiation Goals?
In complex multiparty negotiations, should you set ambitious negotiation goals right from the start or begin with more modest ones?
Aiming high can lead to dramatic payoffs if you succeed, but the difficulty of orchestrating complicated negotiations can increase the risk of impasse. By contrast, starting with more modest negotiation goals may suggest a lack of ambition or resolve, but might increase negotiators’ odds of slowly building momentum and trust.
In the same vein, inexperienced negotiators and even many experienced negotiators tend to assume they have a choice between two main strategies: negotiate in a tough, demanding manner or in a friendly, accommodating manner. In fact, there’s a better, third way of negotiating—one that doesn’t rely on toughness or accommodation, but that will improve your likelihood of meeting your negotiation goals. Principled negotiation can produce wise outcomes efficiently and amicably.
How can you set and reach your negotiation goals while bearing this somewhat conflicting information in mind?
Set modest negotiation goals. Rather than announcing ambitious plans right from the start, considering setting more conservative goals.
Empower other parties to find solutions. By stepping back and prompting others to lead, you can invest them in problem solving.
But don’t underestimate your odds. Play it too safe, and you may find yourself with no significant goals at all.
Finally, ensure that goals incorporate all the factors that will help you and your organization succeed. Clarify acceptable levels of risk, and promote cooperation by setting team negotiation goals.
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