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General Negotiation

These days, an increasing number of events are being negotiated, and everyone wants to participate in decisions that directly affect them. Few people are content to leave things be without having a say in them.
Negotiation happens in matters of business, family and government. The dilemma for most people is setting the paradigm in which these negotiations are to be held.

Positional negotiating usually happens through one of two totally opposite strategies.

  • Soft negotiation.
    This method involves trying to avoid personal conflict and striving for an amicable solution to the problem or oppositional sides. It takes into account both negotiation results and interpersonal relations.
    When a soft negotiator meets a hard negotiator, it will always end in a loss-win result, leading to negative consequences.
  • Hard negotiation.
    This method uses strictly the impersonal process of supply and demand to negotiate positions, focusing on whoever concedes first.
    It does not take into account the evidently negative effects on personal and business relations.
    When a hard negotiator meets a soft negotiator, it will always end in a win-loss situation, including the aforementioned negative consequences.
A possible conclusion from the abovementioned strategies is that positional negotiation usually leads to unwise and unsatisfying agreements.

There is a third way of negotiation: a "soft" way of dealing with the people involved, combined with a "hard" approach to the dispute or conflict.
This is called principal negotiation, as used in the Harvard Negotiation Project method.
In this method, decisions are made about disputes and conflicts based on their merits and independent criteria, rather than based on positions.

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proceed to: Principal Negotiation