Meaning - Negotiation is an everyday fair. Be it a matter of sharing an apple between two fellow travelers, sharing a combined kitchen, dealing with a Child, our neighbour, co-orker or an alien enemy, striking a business deal or anything else, negotiation works. It works both in deals and disputes. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been increasingly used as a tool to resolve disputes in the recent years. ADR has various tools like arbitration, mediation, negotiation conciliation and mini trial. Negotiation is one of the powerful tools amongst them all. Traditionally, disputes are brought to the court by a so-called aggrieved party and solved there by way of judicial decision. Contrary to this in ADR, disputes are not taken to the court, rather mutually recognized and attempted to solve by way of adjustments between the parties or at the most solved through desired intervention of an outsider in the capacity of a negotiator or a mediator or an arbitrator.
Anyone who has willingness and has understood some basic techniques of negotiation can be a negotiator. In business most of the deals are made by the businessmen in case of sole proprietorship and family managed small and medium business. In case of cooperative business, head of the senior management strikes the deal. Depending upon the nature of deal or transaction even the head of the departments and the person in charge of any transaction or issue may also strike the deal. For example project manager or procurement manager may deal an acquisition of assets and materials. Recruitment of an advisor may be handled by HR chief, appointing a sales agent or a selecting and appointing a dealer to distribute the company's products will be done by sales department head. For every deal there is a negotiation whether done it knowingly or not. It's not that only senior people do negotiation. Every one in every feed do negotiation. It's done to make deals with an intention to keep it's terms in one's own favour if not at least to benefit all the side equally. From result point of view negotiation can be classified as win-lose, win- win, lose -win, lose -lose and sometimes no deal. A greedy negotiator tends to strike a win-lose deal which is never advised to do because the result of the negotiation must be lasting and achievable which is not possible in case of win-lose type. Deal is not an end product of negotiation, execution of the deal or fulfillment of the promises made is the end result of any negotiation. It is also important that future relation with the opposite party with whom we negotiate and strike a deal should not be damaged or distorted rather it should be improved. For that we need to try to make a win- win negotiation which means both the parties feel equally benefited. Practically, it does not sound possible but it can very well happen in negotiation parties tend to exchange the slices of the whole package of any transaction. The value of a slice differs from party to party. One party's loss or sacrifice is another party's gain or benefit but the value of the same differs for the two. For example in a buy and sale deal a buyer wants to pay lesser price than what is offered by a seller. As a smart seller, when he has to compromise on price he will compensate with advance or cash payment or no value addition on guides or else. Here, lower price is a 'win' for the buyer where as advance or cash payment is a 'win' for the seller. This way both sides win, this is the point. Fundamental rule is that never give up any slice without getting a better or bigger, at least equal slice from the opposite side. What style to choose is purely the choice of a negotiator. It all depends upon situation also. If a person is in a dire need of the deal he can not go far a win lose type. Lose-win and lose- lose are too ideal which do not happen in real life. When there is no deal we can't say that we negotiated, we can just say that we attempted to negotiate. Some times no deal may happen due to deadlock that might have been demanded or resulted out of inevitable situation. When there is a deadlock there can be two alternatives either stop or postpone the deal. It is always advisable to postpone because negotiation never believes in impossibility. A thin line of hope always remains. Next time when we restart negotiation we should try to see the matter with fresh perspective and offers.
We may have a question in mind that why and how, when do we negotiate? We negotiate when both the parties are both in conflict and agreement. There must be a difference which is intended to be solved by way of negotiation. And also there must be an agreement as to the means of solving difference i.e. by negotiation. Both the parties must be in principle, willing to deal. There must be buffer zone, also called as variable between which we play and trade off by way of concessions in the process of negotiation of course; no concession is given for free. Do not give anything without getting something in return. We negotiate either to make deals or to resolve disputes. Most of the techniques are same in both. Only objective differs without objective there is no negotiation. Subject matter of negotiation for both (all) the sides must be same but the goal might differ. However, such difference shall be narrowed down and resolve by way of negotiation reached to the same point. Parties must set their own BATNA (……….) and also try to find out the BATNA of opposite party without letting the other side know your BATNA. We must have a set….. target below which we never strike a deal along with a checklist of concessions to give and take in return which we keep ready while preparing our negotiation. However we need to make sure that both the parties have understood the deal in the right way and in the same sense. Also the deal must be fair and practically viable. A line in the poem by Ella Wheeler wikox is relevant to quote here which goes like "No question is ever settled, until it is settled right.