Founder & Principal of Workplace Dispute Resolution, LLC -- a negotiation consulting, conflict management, and mediation company dedicated to building collaborative workplace and business relationships.
Welcome to the first post in a series about negotiating in different contexts! The negotiation process isn’t beholden to any specific industry. Yet different factors certainly influence the process, especially what you need to do to prepare.
Context matters. As an example, you can be a great negotiator, but you aren’t likely to negotiate your way to a six-figure salary in your entry level fast-food job. That’s why it’s important to know the going rates before coming to the negotiating table. Of course different factors influence different industries. This post explores some factors that impact divorce settlement negotiations.
I’d like to take a moment and thank Kathleen Cole, a family law attorney with over 20 years of experience. Kathleen was kind enough to provide the perspective for this post. Find out more about Kathleen and her law practice at http://www.colefamilylaw.com.
Takeaway: Know the law; know your judges; and manage client expectations from the get-go! There’s just no substitute for it. If you do these things effectively, you’re less likely to be blindsided in negotiations.
Action Step: Listen! Attorneys have intake forms for a reason. It gives them the information they need to make an initial determination about a case. However, build active listening into the initial client interview, too. Set aside a period to listen. That means no furious scribbling down facts, no monologue explanations of law; just listening, understanding, and asking open-ended, on-point questions. You’ll be surprised how this builds trust and encourages the client to reveal information underlying the case.
The Takeaway: Dealing with negotiation or conflict? Preparation is key.
Spoiler: The 5 “Knows” are market, audience, team, issue, and patience! Know these things, and you’re on the right track.
You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that effective negotiators need to be prepared. What does that mean exactly? Is it a scripted role play? Is it getting ready for a lose-lose, meet-in-the-middle haggle? Follow the 5 “knows” of negotiation prep to get your mind right and focus you in the right direction.
Negotiation and conflict resolution begin with an understanding of general principles of human behavior. This is a prelude to any negotiation or conflict, regardless of industry specific issues. Stay tuned for what’s next.
The Takeaway: When you make yourself easy to agree with, there’s a better chance of reaching consensus. Remember, no one wants to make a deal with an a-hole. Make it hard for your counterpart to think of you as one, and you’re on your way.
Take Action: The most control you’re ever going to have is over yourself and your own actions. As you go throughout the next couple days, be conscious of your tone. Try to talk with everyone at work in a friendly and professional tone, no matter what! Pay attention to the difference your tone can make.
Is society teaching its up and comers to negotiate?
High school, college, and graduate students are all taught a variety of substantive skills: math, science, technology, literature, and others. But does the next generation know how to communicate effectively? Do they know how to negotiate to get what they want yet still meet the needs of their counterparts?
Michigan House Bill 5073 of 2017, would require mediation for civil litigation with over $25,000 in damages and for contested probate proceedings. The bill specifically excludes domestic relations cases from automatic mediation.
For further discussion, Lee Hornberger has written numerous general articles on arbitration and mediation. On his website, he’s featuring a whitepaper on automatic mediation by Mary A. Bedikian.
This has the potential to affect attorneys, ADR practitioners, litigants, and others. Stay informed, and contact your legislator with thoughts, concerns, or support.
Contact WDR to discuss further, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Call to Action: Prepare then proceed. Before charging into a negotiation or dispute, take a few minutes to outline your goals. List what the other party might be concerned about— the holdups— so you can be responsive to those concerns.
Why: To reap the benefits of careful planning, rather than suffering the consequences of off-the-cuff responses.
Remember: Conflict skills are developed over time. The sooner you start working on them in real-life situations, the sooner you’ll get better at it.
Compromising with one’s self is sometimes necessary to build collaborative relationships. By acknowledging and dealing with emotions away from the bargaining table, one avoids abrasively negotiating in a “shoot from the hip” approach.
When you negotiate from empathy, people are more likely to want to make a deal with you!
Check out the full articles and let us know what you think!
Special thanks to Brāv’s Remi Alli for collaborating with WDR on these pieces.
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The Takeaway: Difficult, high-stress conversations can be addressed using negotiation principles. Buy yourself time, acknowledge concerns, gather more information, and diffuse the situation.
Take Action: Just once today, ask an open-ended question to get more information before responding. As with anything, these skills take time and practice to develop. Start small now for long-term success.
When people think negotiations, they often think sales, law, contracts, and other back-and-forth transactions. Negotiation is just about deals, right? Wrong. Negotiation principles apply to navigating conflicts and disputes, too.
Build positive relationships with the other “side” by first working on the weak links in your own team.
The Down and Dirty: Sometimes negative perceptions, disciplinary issues, and repeat offenders within your team require a different, more calculated approach.
Why Bother? Because the team member, employee, negotiator (whatever the role) won’t be effective unless taught how to manage those perceptions and communicate effectively.
The Takeaway: Consider coaching when there’s that one guy or gal that can’t seem to get along, even after repeatedly told the error of his or her ways and even after experiencing some negative consequences. Anyone can be a conflict coach. Give it a shot before looking to hire it out.