Negotiating successfully

Over the years,   in the multiple disputes I have been engaged in, I have seen many different negotiating styles in action. In the good old days it was negotiating was done in a more intimidatory style, with lots of foot stomping, ridiculing and intellectual bullying as was the norm. In the 90’s the positional bargaining methods gave way to more softer interest based outcomes, particularly if the parties expected the relationship to continue.

What is the best style? Well, I would say none particularly. Each negotiation and its objectives has to be faced as it comes.

One thing that improves the quality of any negotiation, however, is some considered thought and preparation. A negotiation is usually a great deal more than a bargaining between parties at a table.

As a basic matter what a client wants out of the negotiation has to be identified and written down. What is likely to occur if the negotiation fails should also be articulated in simple terms, together with the clients best alternatives.

I have found that it is better to work out whether there are any third parties who may have an interest in the outcome of a negotiation and whether they should be approached so that alternative plans may be developed and/or additional leverage gained in negotiating with the party at the table.

It also assists if all persons/companies/entities having a specific direct or indirect interest in the outcome are identified to determine if they will or may have any influence, positively or negatively, in the negotiations outcome, and if they do, how that may assist or block any negotiation and how best to deal with that. Some may need to be approached and discussions entered into before any negotiation session with the main player begins.

These basic steps can make a big difference to a negotiation outcome.

If you need any help with a dispute or a difficult negotiation, please contact me for assistance.

Peter Gell

Peter was admitted as a solicitor in 1981 and holds qualifications in law and a Masters degree in taxation conferred by the University of NSW. Peter practises in taxation advisory, estate planning and wills, probate and commercial law.