Solved#1 - negotiating

Helping you solve business problems better

Here's your weekly dose of Solved! - insights to help you solve business problems better.

This week I'm looking at how to agree things better with people you work with - a common theme when implementing changes or delivering projects at any scale.

Whether we like it or not, we have to negotiate with co-workers every day. Negotiation expert Chris Voss has a really useful four step model for taking control of conversations where both parties need to reach agreement. TL:DR...give the other side the illusion of control to gain the upper hand.

At the heart of every need to reach an agreement are "interests". These are the underlying drivers for why someone wants something to happen a particular way and usually relate to basic human characteristics (eg security, power, recognition).

But often negotiations focus on "positions" - the visible things that people demand. And this is where things can go wrong as it's all too easy for positions to become diametrically opposed. Find out more about interests and positions.

Solved! tip: Learn to get to the bottom of interests and see beyond positions when trying to reach an agreement.

Here are three questions I like for better negotiations:

Solved! question: "Why is that important?"
This is a nice open question that can help you understand the real drivers behind the demands you're being presented with in any conversation.

Solved! question: "What do you think of XYZ as a way forward?"
This question forces the other party to reveal their understanding of the solution under discussion and how it relates to their underlying interests in the negotiation.

Solved! question: "Is there anything else I need to know?"
This question may lead to some other points that you haven’t uncovered or give you a final chance to understand what's really going on for the other party.

Let me know what you think of this issue if Solved! by replying to this email or @simonwakeman on Twitter.

Until next time…


Simon Wakeman