The Power of Effective Negotiations

Negotiations are essential to a business’s operations, functions, transactions, interactions, and success.  Negotiations aid businesses in building better relationships, resolving and avoiding future conflicts, issues, or problems, and obtaining lasting solutions that satisfy the parties’ needs.  

According to Roger Fisher and William Ury’s book, Getting to Yes (2nd ed., 1991), negotiation is a communication exchange of interests, shared and opposed, designed to reach a mutual agreement between parties are achieved.    

Positive vs. Negative Negotiation Influences and Tactics

Positive and negative influences and practices or tactics can impact negotiations. Positive negotiation influences and methods entail actions perceived as appropriate and demonstrating competency and good communication skills, preparedness for meetings, positive feelings such as confidence and courage, making the right alliances, and gaining trust through these actions, which help achieve objectives and desired results. 

Conversely, negative negotiation influences and practices or tactics entail negative feelings such as uncertainty, fear, greed, and actions that may be perceived as deceptive and disregard the needs of others.  Although some negative negotiation influences and tactics may produce desired results, their impact may tarnish the business or brand’s reputation and name and create poor relationships.

Likewise, the impact of positive negotiation influences and practices or tactics may generate a negative response or reaction despite producing desired results.  For instance, differences in the skillsets of the parties involved, values, perceptions, and pushing beyond the boundaries and limits to what the targeted audience perceives as acceptable may affect the outcome of the negotiation strategy. 

Negotiation Success Feature: Amazon vs. Hachette Book Group

In 2014, Hachette Book Group, a leading, global French trade, and educational book publishing company, faced a battle with Amazon, a multinational e-commerce company and one of the world’s largest online marketplace and retailer, for their refusal to provide Amazon with control over the prices of their e-books which caused a reduction in the pricing of their books to less than $10 per book. 

Amazon’s response included negotiation tactics that may people perceived as negative and aggressive in nature.  For instance, Amazon reduced the pricing offered for Hachette’s books and prevented customers from pre-ordering their books.  Amazon also impacted Hachette’s sales by delaying some of Hachette’s book shipments.

In 2015, Hachette Book Group and Amazon reached an agreement in their negotiations mutually beneficial for both parties.  For instance, Hachette Book Group gained rights to set the pricing for their e-books and profit better from their books featured in promotions on Amazon and lower prices for its readers.  Amazon will continue to reap the rewards of dominating the book market as one of the world’s largest online marketplace and retailer.                          

Key Takeaway

The outcome of a negotiation process is contingent upon several factors such as the parties’ interests and goals and the persuasiveness, temperament, nature, and relationship between the parties.

Negotiations are effective when they consist of a two-way dialogue with probing using open-ended questions, active listening skills, and preparing with relevant background research to obtain valuable information, build rapport, present the best offer, and compromise or reach a common ground and agreements that generate better outcomes for all parties.

Effective negotiations are achieved by considering both positive and negative negotiation influences and practices or tactics and evaluating negotiating actions to determine if they are closely related to the audience’s views, judgment, and values.

Negotiations are successful and effective when a mutually beneficial communication exchange designed to address the parties’ needs is met and achieved.  Effective negotiations are not only equitable – they produce a mutual gain.

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