Negotiating tips for love, life, business & politics – Philippine Star

Posted by on Jul 25th, 2016 and filed under Lifestyle News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Negotiating tips for love, life, business & politics – Philippine Star

SINGAPORE — Whether in trade, finance, professional careers, romance, family matters, law, politics and geopolitics, the art of negotiating is very important for success. We all negotiate for sales, for jobs, for salaries, for promotions, for resources. How do we best prepare for effective negotiations? What are ideal strategies? 

Thanks to the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for recently inviting The Philippine STAR as the only Philippine newspaper representative, along with TV5, and CRI. as guests with other international media in the “Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development” at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore.

It was a freewheeling forum on the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision in favor of the Philippines versus China in our territorial dispute and also touched on the Spratly claims of our other Asian neighbors. There were many top scholars and analysts from ASEAN, China, India, etc.

Among the ideas raised in the forum was the need for political will by claimant nations to dialogue directly and negotiate. Scholars stressed that “freedom of navigation” is not only a concern of the US but is the top security priority of China, too. The scholars of ASEAN and China agree that the US should be allowed to stay in the region as a neutral stabilizing force. 

In reply to journalist Paterno Esmaquel’s question on China’s reclaimed isles, top China scholars said that these reclaimed islands will someday be open for international non-military or civilian civic purposes, such as joint search-and-rescue operations, maritime security against piracy, etc.

TV5 journalist Carla Lim asked a question about Filipino fishermen’s access to the sea around Scarborough Shoal, and a top Chinese intellectual acknowledged that these grassroots issues affect the difficult day-to-day livelihoods of Filipino as well as Chinese and other Asian fishermen; that authorities should think about and jointly cooperate to improve the plight of these fishermen. 

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Wharton professor Adam Grant and Northwestern University professor Adam Galinsky have authored the good and practical business book Give and Take; they gave the following tips for better negotiating success and I have added my comments to each:

1. Share information. Many people go into negotiations in an extremely secretive way, wrongly thinking that keeping all our cards to ourselves is an advantage, and not considering that this can inhibit trust and result in failed negotiations.

However, Grant says that people tend to “follow the norm of reciprocity, responding in kind to how we treat them.” What he means is if we want others to trust us, we must first offer reasons for them to trust us. No need to reveal all our cards, but let us share more of ourselves, our concerns and our real situation in an honest way to build an atmosphere of mutual trust.

2. Rank your priorities in order. In negotiations, let us be clear-headed on what the main issues are and not be mired in emotional angst or political rhetoric irrelevant to the main issues.

Prof. Grant suggests an approach called “rank ordering.” His research says that people can reach better negotiation results by ranking and leaving all the issues on the table; that we should be honest and transparent about these. Both parties can then move forward by comparing rankings, assessing viable options and making tradeoffs.

3. Prepare, research, know your target price and your walk-away terms. Prof. Galinsky mentions our so-called “walkaway price” (or terms) or reservation price. Our target price is what we hope to get. I recommend that we research and think well beforehand about our walkaway price (or conditions) and our target price before going into negotiations so that we’ll be more confident and not rattled. Knowledge of our terms will prevent us from making mistakes.

Whether selling my real estate property or acting as a broker to help others sell their real estate, I clear with the client what their expected or ideal selling price is (net of capital gains tax and other costs like my broker’s commission), then I suggest that he or she give an allowance for haggling or bargaining by prospective buyers because even the wealthiest people love to get a discount.

4. Make the first offer. This tip may seem to be contrary to conventional wisdom, because many people think we should gain more information first from others before progressing further. Grant and Galinsky point to research that clearly indicates that people who make first offer usually gain better terms that are nearer to their target price. Why? They said it’s due to the psychological principle of anchoring: when a first price or number is laid on the table, both sides start to negotiate around it.

Galinsky added that when we make the first offer, it shouldn’t be so outrageous that it shocks or pisses off the other party. He recommends that our first offer should be close to their  walkaway or reservation price.

5. Don’t counter too low. If the other party makes the first offer, we need to safeguard ourselves from the psychological effects of this anchoring strategy and proceed with a reasonable counter-offer that is not too low in price. Grant suggests we try doing re-anchoring: let the other guy realize that his offer is way too far from what we can accept and ask him to go back with a totally new reset.

6. Counter-offers make both parties more satisfied. Negotiators love to gain the satisfaction of having participated in a give-and-take process, with both sides having driven hard bargains and explaining their side or terms, which leads to a mutually satisfactory deal.

Cognizant of this psychology of negotiators enjoying the process of driving hard bargains or negotiating, Galinsky even admonishes that we shouldn’t be too eager to accept their first offer even if it already satisfies our needs and goals. Hold back a bit and ask for some more concessions — even if they’re minor — for a better deal. This process will increase the other party’s satisfaction when you finalize the deal. Wow! I love this piece of advice!

These last three negotiation tips are my additions to the list:

7. Be patient. If you really want something, persevere in negotiating for a long time, like a marathon. In one deal, it took me one year of weekly visits and nocturnal, past-midnight negotiations to haggle down the price of a property to 45 percent of its original price.

8. Don’t lose your cool. No matter what happens, don’t let inefficient and illogical emotions cloud your decisions and affect your acts during negotiations, so it is ideal to get a good night’s sleep and feel well. Focus on your goal!

9. Be ever ready to commit and nail down the deal. Every day I have at least three blank checks (each with accompanying vouchers) inside my wallet, because my thinking is similar to that of a Boy Scout, whose motto was articulated by founder Robert Baden-Powell: “Be prepared.”  Anytime I bump into a person with a good real estate property for sale anywhere or anytime, I am always ready to sit down, negotiate, and draft a simple contract (thanks to my Legal Management professors at the Ateneo for the basics of what constitutes a valid contract).

Why do I always bring blank checks? Of what use are negotiations and agreements if it will take until tomorrow or a few days to close the deal and give the earnest money? What if the seller suddenly changes his or her mind? What if another buyer comes into the picture and outbids me in price or terms? My own strategy and tip for any honest-to-goodness negotiation: Be ready to commit, and do so!

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