As we put 2020 in our rearview mirror, here’s my annual list of lessons learned and a reminder to put these strategies into practice in 2021. You won’t get better results unless you implement them. Each guiding principle also has a link to my column with more detail.
Let’s recommit to not just knowing them – but implementing them in our negotiations in 2020. Because being better at negotiation will help you have a happy New Year!
- Assessing your counterpart’s priorities can be really challenging. So first, ask what is important to them. Then, compare, contrast and rank their priorities. Our provided list of questions makes this easy. Finally, remember that their actions (and counter offers) speak louder than words. Read more.
- Successful daily negotiations require that you probe interests, listen deeply, avoid visceral reactions, use benchmarks and be honest. Do this and we can get through this together. Read more.
- Contrary to popular opinion, nice guys (or gals) don’t finish last in negotiations. Be nice – it pays off. Read more.
- Implicit and explicit racial discrimination and bias exist in negotiations. Counter bias with these powerful strategies:
- Be strategic: use proven strategies, not gut feelings;
- Find common interests and build rapport;
- Focus on objective criteria like market value, experts’ opinions, profit margin, precedent, policy, etc., to determine value and your moves; and
- Decide offer-concession moves based on patterns. Read more.
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- Negotiating through email presents unique challenges. Face them with these email negotiation do’s:
- Be strategic and detail-oriented;
- Manage the timing;
- Support your positions with standards;
- Consider email vs. attached documents.
- Don’t argue/be nasty; send when angry; and lie or play credibility games. Read more.
- How you engage – in person, video, phone, email, letter – can be as impactful as what you negotiate. Choose wisely. Read more.
- Sometimes you should negotiate by video. There are some great reasons to do so: it humanizes counterparts, it’s harder to say “no”, and it’s the new norm. Other times not. Downsides can include:
- Video communication can make us feel anxious and disconnected;
- It distorts body language and can increase miscommunication, mistrust and perceived inauthenticity. So when in doubt – don’t do video! Read more.
- Do use Zoom to negotiate when appropriate – but don’t do it off-the-cuff. Instead, use video negotiation best practices. Read more.
- Crises require special negotiation strategies (focus on the long-term business and human relationship, exhibit creativity and flexibility, and offer special discounts and help to strengthen your goodwill and loyalty). Many will even be effective in non-crisis situations. Read more.
- Sexist comments have no place in negotiations. But whether you directly or indirectly address or ignore them, do your research and ensure your strategic response helps you accomplish your negotiation goals. Read more.
- Negotiation lessons from con men: modulate your voice, stand up straight, and sometimes just pick up the phone or meet in person. Your results will improve, as con men well know. Read more.
- Strategy and planning lie at the heart of the Art of War and the Art of Negotiation. Read more.
- Outside influencers can make or break a negotiation. Take control of their influence by incorporating them into your strategic process. Try these three steps.
- Emotional best practices in negotiations can be applied in a practical way, and Chris Voss’ “Never Split the Difference” provides a good road map for them. Read the column.
- Thanksgiving should be a time for giving thanks. Planning to avoid possible stressful situations will help achieve this. Here’s how to avoid awkward table topics during the holidays.
- You can’t improve your negotiation skills and results without learning what the experts recommend. Study these great negotiation books (Getting to Yes, Influence: Science and Practice, Getting Past No, and Built to Win), plus mine. It’s a crucial first step. See a list of the best negotiation books of all time.
- Repetition isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, repetition can lead to better learning. And better learning can lead to positive behavior change. Here are several lessons worth repeating.
Latz’s Lesson: Incorporate these lessons into your Strategic Negotiation Plans in 2020. Better results will follow.
So let’s use these lessons from 2020 to make our 2021 a much better year! Happy holidays and a happy New Year to you all!
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Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation, a national negotiation training and consulting company that helps individuals and organizations achieve better results with best practices based on the experts’ research. He also has two bestselling books Gain the Edge! and The Real Trump Deal: An eye-opening Look at How He Really Negotiates. He can be reached at 480.951.3222 or Marty@LatzNegotiation.com.