Beware – Just because someone is at the negotiating table it does not mean that they are there to negotiate.
So why are they sitting there?
- To weigh up the other party / parties – look into their (your) eyes and see what level of confidence shows.
- To discover what the (your) real issues and priorities are; so use the meeting as part of the dialogue phase.
- To work out the probable tactics and strategies that might be used on both sides.
- To learn more about the other (your) negotiator’s motivations, values, experience, skills.
- To be seen to be “negotiating” to satisfy the audience (gallery) and so give an appearance of reasonableness.
- To waste time by making unreasonable demands – create arguments – tie up key people and resources on the other side – buy time to make moves outside the room – gather more intelligence from other sources – use the delays to make other deals with other parties. Argument causes deadlock and halts progress.
Remember when we negotiate it is to get something or to avoid something. The others objective may just to gather information – ours may be not to give anything away.