Successful Negotiation Tactics—Making the Best of a Bad Situation

From the Lecture Series: The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal

By Seth Freeman, Ph.D., New York University

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 two men negotiation
Make the best of a bad situation by being prepare. (Image: By bluedog studio/Shutterstock)
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

What happened in the actual case that the Omega Hotel story is based on? My student, who I’ll 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.

This is a transcript from the video series The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal. Watch it now, on The Great Courses Plus.

“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

Image of businesswomen Handshaking
Research is key for a successful negotiation. (Image: areebarbar/Shutterstock)

Dan and his family’s research quickly revealed powerful insights; 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 other customers never showed. The trust he built with her prompted the clerk to call her boss at home and urge him to OK Dan’s proposal, which he did.

Learn more: The Other Negotiator

What was Dan’s agreement? Dan negotiated two rooms at the Whitman for two nights, a $640 value for $198. It’s an agreement that satisfied both sides’ interests well. Dan achieved showing kindness and respect, and received it in return by genuinely demonstrating an understanding of the clerk’s situation and struggle. We can test the agreement out using three measures of success: it satisfied the interests’ of both parties; it was favorable; and it was a fair deal handled fairly, one that was gentle and positive on the relationships involved.

Revisiting an Example of a Failed Negotiation

Which finally brings us back to Fontaine and Pacific oil. Why did he do so badly? Although he did lots of busy work, he considered almost none of the ideas we have just considered in the I FORESAW IT. 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.

Learn more about the art of skilled listening

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 use sharp bargaining tactics against you. At the same time, the I FORESAW IT can save you from being blindsided by ethical traps and 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.

Common Questions About Successful Negotiation Tactics

Q: How can I negotiate a good deal?

In order to negotiate a good deal, you should do your research about the issue in question, wait for the other side to make the first move, and let the other side fully explain themselves.

Q: How do you negotiate and win every time?

To be a successful negotiator, you should remember that the first few minutes are the most important, start high because you can always go lower, and infuse your words with passion.

Q: What are the three types of negotiation?

The three types of negotiation are assertive, accommodating, and analytical. The type you choose depends on your personality.

Q: What is the first rule of negotiation?

The first rule of negotiation is to be honest without giving away too much information.

This article was updated on August 15, 2019

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