Natural Negotiation for Engineers and Technical Professionals
A critical component of negotiation is to understand the other party's interests. It's those things that they consider important. If you know what is important to your opponent, you can create a way to give it to them. If you give your opponent what they wish, yes, you also will likely get what you desire.
To determine their interests, we begin by simply asking the other party what is important. In some discussions, this may be sufficient and you may obtain the information you need. Given that communication is such an important topic and many of us might agree that it is of high level importance, then this begs the question “Is it really this simple?” Do I simply have to ask and someone will tell me all I need to know about their interests in the negotiation? What if you're dealing with a family member, a spouse or a child? Surely, there is never any miscommunication there! Has the person really thought through what they want? Would there be a time when we need to help them along? When done well, understanding the interests of the other party is an interactive interview process, regardless of which side of the table you represent. Only by asking effective questions and then truly listening to the answers will we understand the other party's needs and interests in the negotiation. Below are six categories of interests; these are not listed in any particular order since you will determine the order of importance.