Notes on Negotiations
By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute
Recently, I shared the most effective negotiation strategies ever used – “pearls of wisdom” – by three of the six panel members from the legal and business worlds in a seminar I recently led.
Here are the remaining three.
Danny Ortega, Board Chair, National Council of La Raza and Partner, Ortega & Associates Law Firm. There’s great value in passionately feeling and believing in your negotiating positions.
Don’t underestimate the impact of how you personally come across in a negotiation. Does your counterpart perceive you really believe what you’re saying – or that it’s just a made up position meant to obtain a strategic advantage?
Your passion and belief can make a huge difference.
Of course, it must be credible. Plus, it will be even more powerful when balanced with analysis and logic.
Two caveats here. One, this doesn’t mean you pound the table and use over-the-top rhetoric. Each person has their own style and method of communicating the strengths of their beliefs. Stay in your comfort zone.
But don’t be afraid to stretch a little, either.
And two, this may involve a bit of acting for those who negotiate on behalf of others in a representative capacity, like lawyers, investment bankers or consultants.
After all, we don’t always fully agree with every single one of our clients’ positions, although hopefully this is more the exception than the rule.
Nancy White, Partner, Steptoe and Johnson. There are many ways to obtain crucial information in negotiations – and master information-gatherers invariably achieve great success.
White shared a particularly compelling example of this from early in her legal career, which involves many international deals.
There, she recalled sitting at the table while her counterparts across the table conversed with each other in Spanish regarding some sensitive strategies and issues. They obviously felt Nancy – a white woman – did not understand Spanish.
She did. Unbeknownst to them, Nancy had lived in South America for a time and was completely fluent in Spanish.
You don’t have to wonder who got more information – and thus achieved success – in that situation.
White also noted how empathy can be powerfully used in many negotiations to both gather information and create rapport between parties.
Paul Eckstein, Partner, Perkins Coie. Keep your ego in your back pocket and focus on your real goal.
Eckstein prosecuted Gov. Evan Mecham in his impeachment trial in 1988 and recalled how Mecham refused to testify unless guaranteed that no lawyers, including Eckstein, could ask him any questions.
Eckstein said fine, knowing: 1) it would be hard to impeach Mecham without his testimony, 2) the questioners were less important than the actual questions asked, and 3) he (Eckstein) didn’t need the spotlight as a questioner.
The goal, of course, was conviction due to Mecham’s previous behavior.
Eckstein and his colleagues then drafted all the questions to be posed to Mecham and prepared the non-lawyer questioners to ask them.
Mecham then proceeded to do exactly what Eckstein anticipated – and his answers to the questions proved a big part of his conviction.
Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research. He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or Latz@ExpertNegotiator.com