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On Negotiation Information

Negotiation Q & A By Osama El-Kadi

A good negotiator should know before the negotiation whether he is winning or losing.

Q What are the considerations and negotiation information a negotiator should consider before joining the negotiation table?

A I could go on and on giving you a list of the information a negotiator should have before joining the negotiation table, but I will never beat a textbook list you can obtain from any bookshop.

I would like instead to tell you what real life negotiation information required before the start.

A good negotiator should know before the negotiation whether he is winning or losing.

As Sun Tzu Said: “Thus it is that in war (negotiation), the victorious strategist (negotiator) only seeks battle (negotiation) after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights(negotiate) and afterwards looks for victory."

Therefore, the only consideration one must ponder upon before a negotiation is one’s own position in relationship to one’s opponent.

If the negotiator position is weak, he should work on strengthening his position before entering into the negotiation.

Determining one’s position is in itself an art that must be studied.

In general, any position consists of five elements: the Mission, the Climate, the Ground, the leadership and the Method.

Depending on the size of the negotiation, the analysis of these elements can be simple or complex. Meaning, whether it is a Multibillion business negotiation or few thousands of pounds personal negotiation to buy a car.

In the context of business negotiation, the Mission is vital: does the whole organization agree on the objectives of this particular negotiation? Are they supportive and so on and so forth?

The climate: What is changing in the environment that gives the negotiator an advantage? This is the element of timing and whether it favours one party or another.

Putting it in a simpler way, suppliers’ year-end is very favourable time for a buyer to conduct a negotiation.

The Ground: is where one chose to gain advantage over an opponent (in this case the supplier). As we know, not everything is money or discount and there must be high value that the supplier can give to the buyer while it is not costing him much.

The Leadership: Negotiation usually fails because there is no clear leadership in the process, in other words everyone wants to join in and negotiate. When this happens, the supplier will divide and conquer as he pleases.

Establishing a clear lead negotiator in any negotiation is fundamental to success.

The Method: is simply the skill a negotiator brings to such situation.

Analyzing these five elements before any negotiation will determine one’s own position relative to that of the opponent and whether it is advantageous to enter the negotiation or to stop.

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