The power of negotiation: Understanding how to play the game

When was the last time you won an argument over deciding where to eat out or what film to watch?

This boils down to the power of negotiation.

What does negotiation mean?

Negotiation is simply any instance where an agreement is reached, and in such cases, compromises must be made. It’s an activity in which we frequently engage, sometimes without realizing.

Whether on a large or small scale, we all engage in some form of negotiation. When the stakes are higher and the situation is more serious, however, negotiating power comes into play.

What is negotiating power?

Negotiating power is interpreted as the authority to physically “punish” the opposing party if the two parties cannot agree on a solution.

It comes with a disbalance of power, where one party is higher represented in power, and entering a negotiation with a resolute posture and demanding conciliation from the other side is a common tactic. This, however, rarely works and can put the parties in dangerous situations.

This can be seen in legal or higher-stake situations, but traces of this can seep into normal situations, such as job offers or salaries. In these cases, negotiations must be done with consideration.

What skills are needed for successful negotiation?

Negotiating entails having a comprehensive understanding of the facts and issues relevant to the issues being negotiated. Favorable negotiation outcomes result from having a good working relationship with the other party; in particular, one based on trust and clear communication.

Additionally, it is important to have a positive alternative in the event that negotiations fail. Coming up with an elegant conflict resolution that benefits both parties are additional aspects of negotiating power.

Discussion power further rests in having an exchange position that is plainly fair or as per regulation and lawful point of reference.

Last but not least, the ability to define one’s willingness or unwillingness to act and thus establish negotiation parameters confers negotiation power.

We can greatly benefit from understanding the psychological processes involved in negotiation in our daily lives.

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