Negotiation is not something punctual, it is a process that we must take care of to achieve success. When we have an important meeting to negotiate with a supplier or any other type of business we have to know the phases that make up the process to anticipate what we are going to find and resolve the conflict effectively. The negotiation phases differ in three main stages: preparation, development and closure.
It is the fundamental stage of the negotiation. In this phase of negotiation is intended to collect all possible information and necessary, both our own conditions or interests as those of the other participants in the negotiation. It consists of delimiting the topic or topics to be discussed: what are the objectives of the negotiation, possible options, interests, etc. In addition, the preparation implies that you can not leave everything in the hands of improvisation. To start a negotiation in which optimal and lasting agreements are sought, improvisation is of no use.
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This phase is characterized by the following points:
- The purpose of the preparation is to identify exactly what is intended with the negotiation and, in addition, to find out what the other negotiating parties or other parties intend.
- There is also a secondary objective or alternative plan in the event that optimal conditions have not been met to achieve the objective.
- Interests: delimit the needs or clarify what solution is sought.
- Alternatives: to be clear what else would be done in the event that the negotiation was not successful.
- Options: generate all possible solutions, for example with the use of brainstorming.
- Agreements: is to prioritize options according to satisfaction (level of satisfaction that generate certain interests to both parties) or according to reality (whether or not it is possible to apply certain options).
- Follow-up: it should be clear which person does what at what time. Keep in mind that the agreements involve a strong commitment between two parties in a specific space and time.
Development comes from the moment the parties sit down to negotiate until negotiations are concluded, whether or not an agreement is reached. During development the parties involved in the negotiation are engaged in exchanging information, as well as defending their points of view. In this phase of negotiation the discrepancies or the disagreements come to the light and it tries to approach postures to try that everybody is benefited.
The duration of this stage is indeterminate, often the participants need to arm themselves with patience. It is generally not advisable to rush events, it is better to wait for ideas to mature and take shape.
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Closing can be done in negotiations whether there is an agreement or not. Before finalizing the agreements, it is necessary to ensure that there is nothing left to be dealt with and that the parties involved interpret and understand in the same way the points that have been dealt with during the negotiation.
Once the negotiation is closed, all aspects must be recorded in writing. The most frequent thing is that at the moment all the parties involved are relaxed, nevertheless it is advisable to be more attentive than ever, since in the document it is necessary to detail everything that until the moment has been treated. For example; Clauses of non-compliance, indemnities, extensions, etc. The closing of the negotiation can also be due to a rupture between the parties.
When negotiation is concluded, it is important to analyze objectively how it has been developed, to identify possible failures and aspects to improve.