The Negotiator is the single point of contact for your negotiating partner. If the Negotiator can no longer fulfil the obligations of his/her role, he/she needs to be exchanged.
A Negotiator is the single point of contact for the opposite party. Negotiators will make it clear right from the start that they will be the sole point of contact for this negotiation. In addition, they point out that some important decisions are made not by them alone, but by a larger team or a decision maker. Negotiators don’t not decide alone in team negotiations. They can only decide in those areas where the Commander or the Decision Maker give them authority. In the police context, this could be for the granting of food, drinks and cigarettes. The exchange of hostages, however, no longer falls within the negotiator’s remit.
The same applies to business negotiations. While the model using Negotiator, Commander and Decision Maker was originally developed by the FBI, it has proven to be very effective in many other types of negotiations. The tasks in the respective roles are nearly identical.
The Negotiator can be a colleague of the Commander – either on the same level or slightly below. The most important aspect is that the Negotiator has internalized the objectives for the negotiation at hand. Negotiators need to know the maximum/minimum position, the strategy and tactics off the cuff. Their responsibilities need to be clearly defined and they need to know the consewuences of their actions:
• What are they allowed to negotiate, what is off-limits?
• What can they agree to, and what not?
• What can they reject and what not?
This remit needs to be worked out in writing and be clearly visible to the Negotiator at all times. If the Negotiator makes a mistake, that does not affect the Commander or Decision Maker. If a negotiator goes beyond his/her remit or is not up to the challenge, they can be replaced – any concessions are tied to his/her person and not legally binding.
The worst case would be if the Commander or Decision Maker takes a wrong decision – their word is binding. Therefore, the Negotiator acts as firewall to protect C and DM in difficult negotiations. If the Negotiator needs to go because of a mistake, the team can hide behind the Negotiator and apologize – however, the concession that was made no longer needs to be honoured.
A Negotiator should:
• Sense the situation intuitively and be able to negotiate with empathy. Experts will handle the technical details.
• Be able to lead the negotiation without any ego involved
• Be able to speak in the subjunctive mood
• See the bigger picture – the details will be clarified by experts.
• Remain calm under pressure