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Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES

NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING OUTCOMES THAT WORK The word “negotiate” has acquired a mystique, implying that it is a discrete activity relating to business deals, the freeing of hostages, or settlements of disputes between people, companies or nations. At the other extreme, the word conjures up images of haggling over a rug or a brass pot in a bazaar or flea market. But the reality is that we all, typically, negotiate in some shape or form every day of our lives. 120 Too often, we are guided by our gut instincts and our experience of negotiation as children in the playground or as tourists in a street market. Too often, we look on negotiation as a competitive sport where the sole objective is to win. Such an approach may produce satisfying results some of the time, but defeated opponents may not want to deal with you in the future, and you may have missed opportunities that a more cooperative approach could present. The first priority is to have a clear vision of your goals. What precisely is the desired result? Good advocates start their planning for a trial by writing an outline of their closing address to the court and then plan their case so that every action is aimed at being able to deliver the proposed closing address. For negotiators, only when one has a goal is it possible to develop a strategy and then the tactics to execute the strategy. There are a few home truths that too many people ignore when they embark on a negotiation. First, we should always put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and try to think about what he or she is looking to get out of the negotiation. This requires us to ask questions and find out as much as possible about our negotiation partner’s interests. Secondly, we should examine precisely what our own interests are and not limit ourselves to the most obvious headline objective. While the ultimate goal needs to be very clear, the more issues that can be brought into play that are potential areas for negotiation for both parties and can be prioritised, the more opportunity there is for mutually beneficial trading. A third point to remember is that obtaining our share of a “fixed-pie” is not always the limit of what we can achieve. It often won’t be possible, but we should always look for opportunities to expand the pie and create value in a negotiation; so that both parties have the opportunity to walk away from the table with a sense of satisfaction that they have achieved more from the negotiation than they would have by following a different course of action. Realistically, almost all negotiation outcomes are a combination of claiming value (i.e. one party’s gain is the other’s loss) and creating value. Negotiation gurus will spend years poring over the negotiations currently underway between the European Union and the United Kingdom and drawing lessons from them. While strategically, Michel Barnier and his team appear to have played a better game so far than David Davis and the British Brexiteers, the overall lessons from both sides largely demonstrate how not to negotiate. The UK has broken countless negotiation rules, but some stand out. First, is to have unity on one’s own side, but the cabinet and the Conservative Party remain split, as do the rest of Parliament and the population at large.

Tim Cullen Another prerequisite is to agree with the other side on ground rules. These should have stipulated that everything should be negotiated together, providing maximum opportunities for both sides to create value by making concessions and achieving gains, based on the different values and costs to each side of each item to be negotiated. Instead, the UK allowed an intransigent EU to stall the big Single Market and Customs Union talks until the “divorce bill” (with a very big opening price tag) had been agreed. In other substantive ways, the approach has been amateurish. Theresa May’s talk of “red lines,” notably on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice was an unwise threat from which she will almost certainly have to climb down. Above all, both the UK and the EU broke the first rule of negotiation, referred to above, which is to put yourself in the other sides shoes. Juvenile hostile rhetoric from both Brussels and London has created a toxic atmosphere. the EU took seven years to negotiate and has more pages than the complete works of Shakespeare and the Old and New Testaments of the Bible combined. Such agreements will not be quick or easy. Every May, I visit Brussels to conduct a one-day negotiation Masterclass as part of the highly regarded “Grand Tour” series. In 2018, there will be a certain poignancy about a Brit teaching such a session in Brussels. We must hope that both sides in the Brexit negotiations will by then be preceding down a more pragmatic path. Tim Cullen Tim Cullen MBE is an Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, where he directs the Oxford Programme on Negotiation. He also heads the international negotiation advisory firm, TCA Ltd. Unrealistic promises of speedy trade deals with the rest of the world have further weakened the UK’s negotiating position. The recent trade agreement between Canada and MEET TIM CULLEN IN BRUSSELS, for more information and deadlines go to www.globalmagevents.com 121