Mastering the Art of Negotiation

Mastering the Art of Negotiation

Derek Gaunt will be sharing the negotiation secrets of the Black Swan Group at the 2018 BKBG Annual Conference, September 25. Black Swan advises its clients to avoid the typical negotiating scenario where one-party states what their issues are and what they want and the other party does the same hoping to reach a compromise in the middle.

Instead, advises Black Swan, stop negotiating and start navigating. Because their training and initial experience involved hostage negotiations, Black Swan knew that in a barricade situation to look for a compromise in the middle is not a good goal. “Okay, shoot two out of your four hostages and we will call it even,” is not an option. Whenever you negotiate with another party, don’t state what you want. Instead, your initial focus should be gathering information, navigating emotional stresses and communicating with your team. After you have gathered information, dealt with stress and communicated, the next move is to agree to talk again and discuss the path for moving forward.

Getting to yes should not be the goal. Avoid closed ended questions in negotiations because most people recognize when you are trying to get to yes. Instead, advises Black Swan, use calibrated open-ended questions to obtain and confirm agreement.

The third pillar of mastering the art of negotiation is to understand that more people are willing to avoid a loss than to take a risk for an equivalent gain. Research shows that people are much less like to take a risk on a purchase that will make them feel better if they are comfortable with what currently exits. It may be better to focus on the risks of not doing what you are proposing.


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