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Reaching Agreement

  • Listen to your negotiating partner and refrain from drawing your own conclusions while they are still speaking. Only by listening intently will you absorb crucial information.
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  • The ZOPA – Zone of Possible Agreement – is the space in which an agreement is possible and defines your room for manoeuvre.
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  • In our experience, there is no win-win in difficult negotiations. In difficult negotiations, there is a clash of interests. In this conflict, neither side can get their way. However, a halfway house is often a win for both parties on the surface only.
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  • Find out pre-negotiation which questions/issues your negotiating partner will want to talk about. Try to understand their motives and make a list – what must be negotiated, what is optional?
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  • We think rational negotiations are unrealistic. Negotiating means to trade, to offer, to increase demands, take away other demands. It is like a game that requires you to remain flexible.
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  • Reaching a compromise can be a legitimate objective in a negotiation. However, it rarely satisfies either side. In our experience, there is no win-win in difficult negotiations.
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  • An agreement should be reached at the very last minute. Don’t commit early and don’t provoke your negotiating partner to commit early, either.
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  • Many negotiations will see dealmakers and “realmakers” come in at different times. Dealmakers want a deal at any cost, which is often associated with immense risks. Dealmakers therefore need close supervision by the decision maker to avoid surprises.
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  • In some negotiations, a good relationship with your negotiating partner is one of the main objectives. In the preparation phase, one of the questions to be answered is what kind of relationship you would like to have after negotiations have concluded.
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  • Every negotiation has different phases. The decision phase is the showdown at the end of the negotiation. Every phase has its own rules and it is paramount to keep an eye on your stress levels.
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