Tips for “Extreme Negotiations”

The Harvard Business Review has an interview with Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Hughes, “Implementing Strategies in Extreme Negotiations,” that contains advice that may help with any important and difficult negotiation. In essence, the advice is to:

  • “understand what’s motivating the other party;
  • “come up with a variety of possible solutions and invite critiques;
  • “use facts to persuade;
  • “demonstrate a commitment to a fair and reasonable outcome;
  • “build trust over time;
  • and focus on actively shaping the process of the negotiation.”

In preparing for a negotiation, Weiss and Hughes suggest using a “seven-elements checklist” developed by their colleagues at the Harvard Negotiation Project, summarized here as:

  1. Think about each party’s interests.
  2. Think about each party’s alternatives.
  3. Brainstorm solutions.
  4. Consider ways to legitimize the solutions.
  5. Identify commitments that each party can make.
  6. Analyze the relationships in play and how important they are.
  7. Plan your communication strategy.

There is a complete explication of this map to preparation in the paper, “Negotiation Systems and Strategies” [PDF] (Hughes, Weiss, Kliman, Chapnick).

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