Successful Negotiation Tactics—Making the Best of a Bad Situation

From a lecture series presented by Professor Seth Freeman, J.D.

As we learned in the previous post of this series on successful negotiation tactics, it takes solid strategic planning in order to negotiate effectively. What type of outcome you walk away with depends on the specifics of the situation, but here’s how one student used the “I FORESAW IT” mnemonic to make the best of a bad situation.

image of 2 men negotiation for the article on successful negotiation tactics

Note: You may want to read the first two articles in this series on negotiation tactics before continuing on this post.
Negotiation Pitfalls—An Example of Poor Planning and a Negotiation Gone Bad
Advanced Negotiation Tactics—One Powerful Mnemonic to Know

So what happened in the actual case that the Omega hotel story is based on? As my student, who I will call, Dan, found, excellent things happened when he and his family stepped out of line and spent fifteen minutes going through the I FORESAW IT mnemonic—a powerful tool for anyone studying successful negotiation tactics.

“Before I began the I FORESAW IT with my family,” he wrote, “I was furious, but we all started to relax during the exercise. Once it was time to confront the clerk at the front desk, I felt extremely confident, knowing that I was prepared to negotiate if necessary.”

Learn more: The Hopeful Power of Negotiation

Research is Key in Successful Negotiation Tactics

Like us, their research quickly revealed powerful insights. Also, they generated fifteen creative options, one of which really worked. But it was empathy that may have been the most important thing that he thought about. Because he took a step back and really thought about what the clerk was going through, Dan was able to genuinely understand her, which helped him develop a fair, creative proposal and present it with patience and compassion that others never showed. The trust he built with her, prompted her to call her boss at home and urge him to OK Dan’s proposal, which he did.

What was the agreement? Two rooms at the Whitman for two nights, a $640 value for $198, an agreement that satisfied both sides’ interests well, and that Dan achieved while showing kindness and respect, and receiving it in return. If we test the agreement out using the three measures of success we developed in session 11, we find it was a brilliant success; it satisfied the interests; it was favorable; and it was a fair deal handled fairly, one that was gentle and positive on the relationships.

Revisiting an Example of a Failed Negotiation

Which brings us finally back to poor Fontaine and Pacific oil. Why did he do so badly? It turns out that although he did lots of busy work, he considered almost none of the ideas we have just considered in the I FORESAW IT. So my challenge to you is to succeed where he failed; soar where he fell by doing an I FORESAW IT plan before your next important negotiation.

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As rich and useful as it is, the I FORESAW IT can do more than we’ve just explored. It can also help you cope with one of the things that most bedevils you when you think about negotiation, counterparts who are use sharp bargaining tactics against you. At the same time, the I FORESAW IT can save you from being blindsided by ethical traps, from temptations to compromise your reputation and behave badly, despite your better judgment. Sharp tactics and ethical traps are a serious challenge to negotiators. You can learn about these types of traps in my course The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal.

Keep reading:
One Essential Tactic For Successful Negotiating
Power Posing: Change The Course Of Your Next Job Interview
Embrace The English Language Like Never Before

From the course The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal taught by Professor Seth Freeman, Ph.D.