What are Negotiators?
Many people dread negotiation, not recognizing that they act as negotiators on a regular, even daily basis.
Most of us don’t think of ourselves as negotiators, yet we face formal negotiations throughout our personal and professional lives: discussing the terms of a job offer with a recruiter, haggling over the price of a new car, hammering out a contract with a supplier.
Then there are the more informal, less obvious negotiations we take part in daily: persuading a toddler to eat his peas, working out a conflict with a coworker, or convincing a client to accept a late delivery.
Whenever we are trying to reach a goal and need the help of another party who has different preferences, we negotiate. Skilled negotiators can make deals, solve problems, manage conflicts, and build relationships as well as preserve relationships.
As negotiators, success sometimes hinges on our ability to convince someone that our proposed solution would be more beneficial than their option. In his book, Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (without Money or Muscle) (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2016), Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra examines this type of challenge, among many others, as he unveils strategies that negotiators can use in situations where deadlock or conflict seems insurmountable.
Malhotra identifies three important but often-overlooked levers that lead to breakthroughs in even the most difficult negotiations: (1) the power of framing, (2) the power of process, and (3) the power of empathy. By changing how we structure and articulate proposals, looking at process decisions more carefully, and examining other parties’ interests and perspective more methodically, we can overcome stalemate, antagonism, mistrust, and complexity, and clear a path to agreement.
To learn powerful negotiation skills and become a better dealmaker and leader, download our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
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