Negotiation Strategy


Negotiation is a social process in which parties try to obtain support and resources of others to achieve their own goal. Negotiation is necessary whenever one party cannot achieve a certain goal without the co-operation of other parties. A negotiation strategy refers to a set of actions or behavior applied by parties in a negotiation process to achieve their goal(s). Sometimes negotiating parties have different goals that require different sets of actions. It is also possible to develop a negotiation strategy that helps a party achieve different goals with one set of actions.

Considerations to make when developing a negotiation strategy

Negotiating parties must consider several factors when developing a negotiation strategy. It is not easy to secure the support and resources of others and hence negotiating parties should not underestimate the process. When developing a negotiation strategy, one must assess the situation and consider the possible outcome. A negotiation strategy may fail if the negotiating parties’ goals conflict or if applied at the wrong time. Hence, a negotiating party must consider possible conflicts in the negotiation process and define ways of handling each conflict. The goal(s) and purpose of initiating a negotiation process must be defined clearly beforehand. These determine the approach and relative negotiating power of parties in the process.

It is important to consider the ripple effect of a negotiation strategy. A negotiation strategy can either enhance or eliminate other negotiations and agreements in the future. Sometimes parties especially in the business world need long-term relationships to survive. A negotiation strategy should enhance and not destroy such relationships. If a negotiation process requires a formal agreement, define and prepare the necessary documents beforehand. A negotiation process should have a timeline. Determine the right time to start and finalize a negotiation process to achieve your goal. Sometimes parties take too long to reach an agreement and the agreement become useless or meaningless to the parties in the end.

Common negotiation strategies

One of the basic negotiation strategies is the yielding strategy. In this strategy, one party quickly accepts an offer without considering other possible offers. Parties who consider a negotiation process as fixed often apply the yielding strategy. This strategy is also common among parties who consider their bargaining power lower than that of others. Another negotiation strategy is compromising where negotiation parties seek a fair play or balance. Parties who consider their bargain powers equal often apply this strategy to reach an equitable agreement.

The competing strategy is an aggressive strategy that seeks to obtain as much as possible from a negotiation process. Parties that use this approach do not consider the cost of obtaining the resources and co-operation they need from the other party. They consider their bargain power higher and superior. The problem-solving strategy aims at providing a solution to a common problem. Negotiating parties use this strategy to meet as many needs and wants as they can and in most cases create long term relationships.