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How to negotiate and get what you want

Lou Markstrom | July 23, 2014
And do this while maintaining healthy relationships with your colleagues


As an IT professional, you negotiate every day. If you're launching a new app, for instance, how many times do you negotiate with people?

You'll negotiate with the business client to arrange for staff to test the app, with the server team to get space for tests, and with the app team to get it loaded on time.

Let's face it, your success as an IT pro depends on your ability to negotiate and secure necessary resources from clients and other staff members.

We don't often think of negotiating as something we do. If you ever feel understaffed, that you lack resources or are facing unrealistic deadlines, it may be time to improve your negotiation skills.

The two biggest ways to develop your negotiation skills are to take an 'objective-based' and 'everyone wins' approach.

Position versus objective-based negotiation

When you think of negotiation what comes to mind? Do you think of conflict, or two parties firmly planting their stakes into the ground and not understanding or willing to look from the other person's point of view?

Although it seems customary that negotiating is based on trying to resolve differences by holding onto positions, it doesn't have to be that way.

The alternative and more effective method is objective-based negotiation.

Picture this scenario. You and your partner are planning a holiday. You have decided that you want to go to a particular resort because it has one of the best day spas and your partner has decided they want to go to another resort because it has a golf course.

You come to the negotiation with the position of going to your resort of choice and your partner wanting to go to his or her resort.

You can probably guess the way that conversation is going to go! That would be position-based negotiation.

So what's objective-based negotiation? Imagine the conversation starts like this. "Let's look at what we want in our holiday."

In the above example, one partner likes the spa and the other partner wants to play golf. Those were objectives and not positions.

With those two objectives we would have numerous potential solutions that meet the needs of both parties. These include going to a resort that has a golf course and a spa; spending equal time at both resorts during the holiday; or taking separate holidays/

These would be the options if the only objectives were golf and spa.

Let's say we add objectives of spending quality time together and having it be the most economical -- then we're down to the first option, a resort that has both.

Starting with the objective first allows us to negotiate solutions and outcomes that are not even seen when we are locked into our "positions."


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