"Negotiation is the essential leadership skill for those creating a different future, and it is the ultimate exec skill for problem solving. Entrepreneurs do that every day," says Linda E. Ginzel, clinical professor of managerial psychology, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Ginzel has worked with numerous corporate leaders to help them create the best possible outcomes.
Professor Ginzel is the president of Kids in Danger, a nonprofit focused on children's product safety. She received the President's Volunteer Service Award, the nation's highest honor for volunteer service, from Bill Clinton in 2000.
Here are professor Ginzel's negotiation tips:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
"Solid preparation is key," says Ginzel. "Identify issues, prioritize interests, and discuss best- and worst-case scenarios. Identify a list of questions to research. Know your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), and try to improve it."
2. Focus on interests, not positions.
"Build trust, share and assess priorities. Ask lots of questions about interests and listen carefully. Provide information, avoid unilateral concessions, and ask for reciprocity. Use compromise as a last resort, not as a goal."
3. Look for tradeoffs to create value.
"Recognize that with many issues, joint gains are possible. Identify them. Differences are a good thing in negotiations. Avoid sequential bargaining and single-issue offers; keep all issues on the table (e.g., packaging) for flexibility."
4. Enlarge the pie before dividing.
"While we have a bias toward competition, most negotiations in life are mixed-motive: They involve both competition (value claiming) and cooperation (value creating). Think creatively about putting new issues on the table; add side issues that benefit both parties."
5. Adapt your strategy to your counterpart's style.
"Be aware that different problem-solving modes are available to you: competition, collaboration, accommodation, cooperation, compromise and avoidance. Remember to switch strategies when lacking progress."
6. Practice conditional cooperation.
"Be nice (don't be the first to defect). Be provokable (reciprocate defection). Be forgiving (reciprocate cooperation). Don't be envious (don't compare your success relative to other players). Be clear (don't be too clever)."