The Negotiation Checklist - Simons and Tripp.pdf

It may seem awkward to apply a precise resistance

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It may seem awkward to apply a precise resistance point, particularly if your BATNA is vague or not strong. In such circumstances, you might consider setting a “tripwire” or a temporary resistance point. Set it slightly above your actual resistance point; the tripwire then gives you the chance to suspend negotiations for further consultation with your team. For example, imagine that you are booking the conference as dis- cussed earlier. Your members have expressed a slight preference for exploring new places, and so you are negotiating with a new hotel. You are willing to pay more for a new location, but you are not sure ex- actly how much more your mem- bership will accept. You know that members will balk at an exorbitant room rate. Your BATNA is to stay at the same hotel as last year and face an uncertain amount of members’ disappointment. To deal with this uncertainty, you can set a “tripwire.” If you are comfortable signing a contract that entails a $10-a-night increase, but if you are unable to secure a rate that low or better, the tripwire tells you that you should check with your membership before you make a commitment. You have, in effect, built a “safety zone” around an uncertain BATNA . B. A BOUT THE O THER S IDE Good negotiators seek to under- stand the other party’s needs and limits almost as well as they know their own. Such negotiators might be able to accomplish this under- standing before the negotiations begin, or early in the negotiation process. Obviously, the final agree- ment will reflect not only your own preferences and BATNA , but the other party’s as well. Thus, it is useful to ask the same questions about the other party as you ask about yourself. 1. How important is each issue to them (plus any new issues they added)? Consider and attempt to estimate the other party’s priorities. What tradeoffs can you offer that enhance the agreement’s value for both sides, or that might be neutral for the other side but a boon for you? If your counterpart had a scoring system like yours, what do you think it would look like? Call people who might have information or insight into the other party’s pri- orities. Build a scoring system like your own that estimates their priori- ties, and use it to design some po- tential tradeoffs. As the negotiation proceeds, try to test, correct, and complete your picture of the other party’s scoring You must be willing to live with all the proposals you offer.
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February 1997 21 H U M A N R E S O U R C E S system. Try to fill out your under- standing of what that scoring system might look like if one existed. Gather more information during the negotiations by asking direct ques- tions about priorities, and also by judging the other negotiator’s re- sponses to your different offers and proposed tradeoffs. You might also want to probe whether there are any issues about which the other side will completely refuse to negotiate. Such a refusal might simply be a ploy, or it might be a genuine constraint on the way it does business.
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