Objectives Offer Openness Opponent / Opposition


When scaling the face of Everest setting interim objectives where you regroup, catch your breath, and plan the next assent route are essential if you are to make it to the summit.

The respective objectives of mediators and negotiators set them apart; not their goals. Both share the goals of discovering a viable resolution, getting the parties to start working together, and reaching an accord. That is where the similarity ends. The objectives of the mediator are limited to achieving an accord while the negotiator as specific deal-point thresholds he or she nee dot achieve.

While the mediator has no clue as to what the final terms should be, the negotiator needs to know what his threshold of pain is to judge if a proposal is viable. For the mediator, his goal is easy by comparison. His sole goal is to have the parties reach a viable accord. His knowledge of the process and ability to coach the parties toward an accord is the value he adds to a negotiation.

The negotiator targets a series of objectives that, together, build the basis for a viable transaction and achieves his ultimate goal. The mediator works to help the parties find a series of issues to agree upon to build towards an atmosphere of cooperation and, eventually, accord.

Some objectives add to the bottom line. Other objectives are non-monetary but are equally valuable. They can be social, political or cultural issues that must be resolved for the transaction is become acceptable to both parties. Other objectives may be nice-to-get concessions that make good bartering chips. Understanding the difference establishes the negotiator's priorities.

corporate negotiators focus intently on the financial issues rather than to total package of issues. They will sacrifice other lease issues to make their opening budget and bonus objectives. Such short-sighted dealings can help lead to a company's demise. Any negotiator needs to know and understand the bigger picture so he can do the best job for his company and the shareholders.



Offering beads to a head-hunter is not likely to satisfy him. He wants your head in his collection!

The strategy behind making an offer is a complex process. Different offers are made to achieve different objectives. Tender your initial offers to establish the parameters of the negotiation; not hoping they are accepted. If you initial offer is accepted, it was likely too high!

If you are tempted to accept an initial off, slow down. If you do, the offering party may become dissatisfied feeling they offered too much or asked too little. Even if the offer is acceptable, argue a bit to make sure the other person becomes committed to the transaction. This prevents cognitive dissonance from interjecting its ugly head and jeopardizing the agreement.

Carefully plan the terms of each offer considering your needs and the wants and needs of the other person. Try to address some of their needs giving them reason to continue to negotiate. Be less concerned with their 'wants' unless they press hard indicating they think they are actually 'needs'.

Considerations when making an offer:

-Can you afford the terms if they are accepted? Do not offer more than you (or what you know your company will pay.

-Will you be happy if the terms are accepted? The body has two 'brains'; the one between your ears and the one in your stomach. If your 'gut' is telling you the offer is wrong, back away and think about the terms some more. Your intuition is often more accurate than your brain. Listen to it!

-Will the offer offend the other person? Your goal is to structure a viable transaction. Understanding what is viable to the other person allows you to make an offer that advances the negotiation. It also enables you to avoid making an offer that curbs further discourse. This is especially dangerous if you face competition for the primary commodity.

-Do the terms leave you adequate room to negotiate a viable agreement? The basic terms of an agreement are only the beginning of the total negotiation. Make sure the terms are not so tight that you will not be able to make other, ancillary concessions and still proceed.

-Is the offer likely to advance the discussions? Negotiating is an art form. Offers are steps in the dance. Design your offers to direct the decision making process toward a viable, global agreement.

There is an art to tendering an offer. The 'delivery' can soften the impact of the actual terms offered. Anticipate the reaction to the terms and adjust your delivery to insure its consideration and counter, if not acceptance. Humor often takes the edge off an aggressive offer. While the meaning is the same, it will be less offensive as it would if delivered dryly. If you have an aggressive offer, present it in person. This allows you to control the delivery and impact. It also allows you to observe the reaction.

Do not tender an offer than will likely result in terminating the meeting or discussion unless that is your intent. Such an offer is tantamount to a bluff



Standing tall and shouting at a charging grizzly is the only posture to take to save your posterior. Being open, frank and sharing your terror will not deter him from his mission. The thought that you might fight back may!

How you present yourself is an important negotiating tactic. You are sure to come across some negotiators who present a studied, poker-face approach to the process. Others appear guileless innocents ripe for the taking. Most likely, they are role playing; adjusting their demeanor to the situation. In every negotiator lurks an aspiring actor!

Negotiating and mediating is actually a form of management: people management. Managers study and train to apply different managerial styles in different situations. Seldom will one style take them to the top of the corporate ladder. It is reasonable to assume negotiators need the same arsenal of tools.

Pre-meeting strategy planning sessions should include identifying the best approach to other person. Try to get into 'their skin' to appreciate how they will be looking at the situation and create the appropriate persona to deliver your message or lead your charge.



Man and beast are traditional foes. A lion's brute strength does not guarantee his victory. He may not know how much stronger a mere bullet might be. Stand your ground, aim carefully and wait patiently until the range is to your liking to cut your opponent down to size.

Opponents are people too. They have wants, needs and expectations. Just because they are not the same as yours are does not make their proponents bad people, just different.

If your opponent takes exception with what you are saying, do not get mad. Like the lion, he may not know better. Take the time to understand his objections. Ask why he feels as he does. Try to get to the facts underlying his position so you can, if appropriate, correct the facts and change his opinion.

Go out of your way to treat assistants and secretaries with respect, Give them special attention. They may be able to help you. They can also keep you at away from their boss. Oblique overtures often reveal insights that will be helpful in future sessions. A secretary is likely to share her boss's personal pressures, office problems or bad timing without feeling she is revealing anything untold. Gathering this information about your opponent is all part of the detective work you need to do to prepare properly for an important meeting.


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