Low-down on Negotiations (Part I)
June 29, 2006 by wannapreneur
How do you negotiate on a deal with someone? Should it be a win-win situation or otherwise? Wannapreneur, our resident contributor, will take us through the low-down on negotiations.
Though it may not feel so, negotiation is actually a pretty big part of our daily personal or working lives. The skills and knowledge behind crafting a deal are thus essential to pick up.
In a general sense, one can approach negotiation with basically 2 types of mindsets, the “Win-Win” or the “Win-Lose”.
In the highly competitive environment today, a lot of us have grown accustomed to a zero-sum mentality with the attitude that someone has to lose out in order for ourselves to get ahead or get added benefits. This is common in cases for example in typical employer-employee relations — Employer wants to pay less and Employee wants to get paid more. This clearly illustrates the “Win-Lose” mentality at work. “Your loss is my gain” is the name of the game here. However, with both sides playing the same way, its easy to get stale-mated or end up with less than desired mutual benefits.
On the flip side, there is the “Win-Win” Mentality in which both sides stay aware of the needs and wants of the other party and find a common ground for mutual benefit. In some cases, a better working agreement or scenario may even be found if the spirit of trust and open-ness can be established. This is why more deals are actually sealed away from the meeting table rather than at it. In the local context, the term “makan diplomacy” has even sprung up from the Singapore delegates who negotiated the US-Singapore FTA. This shows the importance of establishing a common ground of trust as the foundation for talks and discussion.
There was a story of a management research done to compare managers’ negotiation styles from the States with those from Japan. An experiment was carried out and for both cases, a line was drawn on the floor between 2 managers, who were then tasked with just one simple objective : getting the other party to come over to your side.
The American managers tried all ways and means to bribe, coerce, trick or force the other party to budge and cross the line. And guess what? No progress whatsoever was achieved with both parties staying firm on their sides. The Japanese managers took a wholly different approach though. The thought about the situation and discussed about it, saying ” Hey, if I cross to your side and you cross to mine, doesn’t that make us both winners?” And so they shook on it and did just that.
So, think win-win and negotiation with both sides’ welfare in mind, and you just may end up with more than you expected in a shorter time.
(to be continued …. )
Editor’s Note: This article is published in Wannapreneur’s blog with the same title.
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