In a previous post, What is Negotiation?, we discussed the Five Negotiating Tactics. This is the fourth installment of  going in-depth with an explanation of each of them. This post covers why it is important in negotiations, as in life in general, to be trustworthy and honest.

The Negotiator

Take the High Road

If the other negotiator becomes argumentative, the best approach is to let them talk themselves out and simply take notes. This will keep you from getting emotionally involved and will give you time to gather your thoughts. Listen carefully and verify that you understand their position. Sometimes just this simple verification brings the negotiations closer to your position, just because you listened. Sometimes that’s all people want to know — that you’ve listened to their side of the story. It’s a powerful feeling to know that you’ve really been heard.

On the other hand, the argumentative negotiator may be using this as a tactic to get you to bend. Don’t. Let them talk themselves out and actively respond through verification of your notes. This reiteration of their side disarms them.

Remember, you’re looking for a long-term relationship here; that means finding ground where both parties can come out winners. If you sense hard feelings of any kind, attempts to break the ice and smooth the process will work in your favor.

Negotiations include a series of turns until finally both parties come to an agreement. Most importantly, trust must not be broken within negotiations. Things may feel strained if they’re not handled properly. That is why doing your homework and understanding both sides of the negotiations will eliminate most, if not all, of the issues.

Give to Get

Be trustworthy and honest in your negotiations. Be fair. If others are unfair to you, let them know. Don’t allow unfair treatment. This will break down the relationship, so confront the issue immediately. Generosity begets generosity. Fairness begets fairness. Unfairness brings about a lack of trust and a break down in the relationship.

When negotiating, if you give something away once, don’t give away anything else until the other negotiator gives you something in return. Sometimes we get nervous and think we need to keep talking, when in actuality you already gave and already talked plenty.

Always take turns. After you make a move, wait until the other party reciprocates before you move again.

Read the next post on the Five Negotiating Tactics which will cover Closure: Putting it all Together.

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