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Time and emotion — these are the two things most often wasted during a negotiation. We simply spend too much time on items that don’t really matter, because we let our emotions override any semblance of logic.
It is a natural human response to act negatively, reactively, and emotionally to any negotiation points that are counter to one’s pre-disposed positions. It is also poor negotiation practice.
The mere fact of having a position lies at the root of why we get caught up in the drama of a negotiation, rather than focusing on the plotline or ending (i.e. goal) toward which we are striving.
In business school, students are sometimes taught the difference between position-based versus interest-based negotiation. When you focus on the differences between your positions rather than the commonality of your interests, little progress can be made.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with having a going-in negotiating position, and we can’t really avoid having pre-existing assumptions and desires. But when we don’t get what we want and frustration ensues, what can we do?
The key is to understand five areas that can both help move a negotiation forward and in doing so usually advance us to where we want to be: