7 Negotiating Strategies From the Pros

negotiating strategies, meetings
7 negotiating strategies to help meeting planners get to “yes”

Contract negotiations are not a favorite part of the job for many meeting planners.

To make it easier, we have compiled a collection of favorite negotiating strategies for meeting planners.

Build Momentum

A favorite among negotiating strategies is to make extreme demands followed up by small, slow concessions. Perhaps the most common of all hard-bargaining tactics, this one protects dealmakers from making concessions too quickly. However, it can keep parties from making a deal and unnecessarily drag out business negotiations. To head off this tactic, have a clear sense of your own goals, best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) and bottom line—and don’t be rattled by an aggressive opponent.—Harvard Law School

No Disclaimers

Avoid soft disclaimers, such as: “I know this might sound like a lot, but ______”;  “I hate to ask for this, but ______”; “Would you ever possibly consider ______?” If you show signs of guilt, your counterparts will act more aggressively.—Nick Kolenda

Practice Mirroring

Mirroring what your counterpart says by repeating 3 to 5 keywords from their previous sentence will enhance your negotiating skills. Not only does it enables the negotiator to quickly establish rapport by giving the counterpart confidence that he/she is being listened to and heard, but the repetition results in a natural urge to clarify what what’s been said, with the result that more information is provided in the process that can be leveraged as the negotiation progresses.—SalesHacker blog

Know Your Partner’s Challenges

The more knowledge you have of the hidden interests and constraints under which your bargaining partner is operating, the more negotiation power you have, even in a seller’s market.—The Muse blog

Shut Up and Listen

Listen, listen, and listen some more. Spend more time listening than talking during the discussion.—Lisa Quast in Forbes.com

Be Willing to Walk Away

Never negotiate without options. If you depend too much on the positive outcome of a negotiation, you lose your ability to say no. When you say to yourself, “I will walk if I can’t conclude a deal that is satisfactory,” the other side can tell that you mean business. Your resolve will force them to make concessions.—Ed Brodow, 10 Tips for Negotiating

Get to Yes!

Use the Getting to Yes approach. Separate the people from the issues (that is, remove the emotion from the equation), look beyond the negotiating parties to see who or what is the real interest or influence affecting each party, generate options to create a problem-solving environment, and neutralize conflict by sticking to objective and easy-to-justify principles of fairness.

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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