The Next Big Deal or Gnawing Dispute: 5 Strategies for Successful Negotiations

There is an old adage that when two opposing parties in a legal matter proceed to litigation, then they have both lost their case. Having negotiated thousands of real estate and finance deals in my career as an attorney, I have listed below what I call the 5 “B’s” of successful negotiation:

1. Be prepared. Know your facts and have the relevant information to support your position readily available. Nothing stalls negotiations better or undermines your position more, then when you have to scramble and seek out the information necessary to bolster your position.

2. Be Patient. With good negotiations, reaching a resolution takes time and is not like ordering “fast food.” Don’t feel compelled to make a decision right away. If you are unsure about something, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting 24 hours to make a decision. If there are several items to accomplish in a negotiation, focus on those points that the parties are more agreeable on, and tackle the more difficult issues at a later time.

3. Be Consistent. Have a goal of what you want to accomplish going into the negotiations. If need be, “map out” a strategy to reach your goal(s) and plan for contingencies. Most importantly, once you’ve reached an agreement regarding a point of contention, stick with it. Don’t agree to something with the real intent to address and “change up” the issue at a later time. That approach wastes time and undermines one’s own credibility.

4. Be Reliable. Imagine a car that starts only half the time. That’s how adverse parties feel about someone who fails to perform on past promises and then approaches their opposition for new concessions. Granted, in an ideal world, people would perform on their agreements 100% of the time. But in life “things happen” and parties are often called upon to make accommodations and exceptions to agreements long after the negotiations are over. It’s reasonable for a party to be less flexible in their accommodations for people who repeatedly fail to perform. It becomes increasingly difficult for repeat ‘offenders’ to persuade the opposition that “this time things will be different.”

5. Be Civil. This point should go without saying, but negotiations move towards success much faster when parties practice civility. If being civil to the other party proves difficult, then you have an excellent reason for engaging an attorney, a real estate agent, or any other professional intermediary on your behalf.

There are times when parties to a settlement leave the negotiation table not getting everything they wanted. That’s fine. In most good deals, the parties need to concede some, but not all, of their position in order to reach a resolution. Those people who insist on going to the negotiation table with an “all or nothing” attitude, do not make good negotiation partners initially, but by using the preceding 5 points, they will in time.

Five Hazards Presented by Other Runners in Races

Participating in a race is the reward to many runners for weeks or months of training. But races present certain hazards. Here are five hazards that your fellow racers can present.

Hazard: Talking on a cellphone

“Distracted driving” is now appreciated by most motorists as a description of how dangerous it can be to talk on a cellphone while driving. Unfortunately, “distracted running” is not as well appreciated by many runners. And some of those runners create a hazard by talking on cellphones during races. While this is safe to do when such a runner has cautiously stopped on the side of the road or trail before making or taking a call, this is not safe for a runner to do while running.

Avoid this hazard by looking for runners with hands to heads and by runners who are running more slowly than those around them (because wireless headsets may be involved!).

Hazard: Listening to music with earphones

This hazard has become so common that some racing authorities ban earphones on the race course. If a runner is listening to music through earphones, then he or she is unlikely to hear emergency-responders, as well as fellow runners, as quickly as he or she should. And this failure to hear the sounds of the racing environment can lead to all sorts of accidents.

Avoid this hazard by looking for tell-tale cords hanging from other runners’ ears.

Hazard: Running backward

You may occasionally see a runner who is running backward along part of a race course — perhaps to work out some stiff muscles or joints or perhaps while calling out motivational messages to the runner whom he or she is facing. But runners do not have rear-view mirrors, and hazards abound in races, so someone who is running backward during a race can cause many problems.

Avoid this hazard by simply noticing when you see faces — instead of the backs of heads — in the racing crowd ahead of you.

Hazard: Wearing a bulky costume

Some races seem to attract runners wearing wacky costumes. While a costume can make the spectators laugh, it also can obscure the costume-wearer’s vision, which can lead to him or her running into others or more easily tripping on hazards that most runners will see and avoid.

Avoid this hazard by staying away from runners with costumes, especially ones that obscure their vision or can interfere with the movement of their feet.

Hazard: Running two or three abreast

This is a special kind of hazard. Some people have trained all season together for your race, so they want to complete the race together. Unfortunately, they can obscure your vision of what lies ahead, and they can abruptly move “in bulk” across a road or trail when one of them decides to stop for water or a toilet break.

Avoid this hazard by being extra cautious when passing a “wall” of runners.

Presentations – Not Meetings

Today, more than ever before managers need to have meetings with employees that are more presentation than they are a place to discuss issues. Meetings usually consist of one person, in most cases a manager, speaking about the issues, projects, numbers, policies and deadlines. To motivate your team at your next meeting, try involving key members of your team and turn your meeting into a presentation.

A presentation sparks interest and participation from all members and helps to promote memory retention of the discussion. Make sure the key participants have met to discuss the issues and the planning of the curriculum for the presentation prior to the delivery. Each speaker must be given a time limit and will need to keep to the topic of their portion of the presentation to have impact on the participants.

Ensure that each key note speaker opens their theme with a powerful impact statement to engage the listeners immediately and to hold their curiosity and attention. Using data, facts or the business statistics in a carefully crafted way, causes instant attention that will be held throughout the entire presentation. Use this technique to drive home facts about your business in a meaningful and sincere way.

The main speaker should make a point after their opening statement to highlight in brief the agenda for the presentation and introduce all speakers even though they work at the facility. It is at this time that this person will need to remind all participants that during the presentations there will be no questions, question and answer period will commence when all presentations have concluded.

An important step in the pre presentation planning with the speakers is to devise a system or a method of acknowledgment, so that when one speaker is done the next speaker takes over without missing stride. If there is too much time between finishing and starting another presentation you could risk losing attention. Ensure that each keynote speaker comes equipped with his or her powerful beginning impact statement. Again, hold the attention throughout the entire program. Tie one presentation to the next with words such as, “in a few moments Mark will expand more on this issue”.

For example, if you are having a service advisor meeting and you need to make an impact on your current numbers and the direction you are steering in, invite the GM, Shop Foreman and your lead advisor to speak. When peers are invited to speak at your presentations there will be a greater sense of urgency within the department to improve due to the fact that coworkers want to excel as a team and not let anyone down.

It would be more impactful if the Shop Foreman informed the service advisors that the productivity and efficiency numbers were down last month and the technicians had been coming to him showing him the inconsistencies in the concern line stories, this maneuver will have more impact than anyone else will on the management team stating it. The Shop Foreman represents the talent on the floor which usually outweighs the advisors five to one. If the Shop Foreman comes to the presentation armed with figures and with examples of shoddy concern line recording, it will drive the point home.

Once all key note speakers are finished with their presentations you will open up the floor to Q & A, however remind everyone that there is a time restriction and to stick to the topics of the presentations. Having effective presentations and defining answers during the Q & A will make a lasting impression on all participants thus driving up the retention level for your expectations to be fulfilled.

At the end of all the presentations it is best to wind up with the expectations deadline and close with another impact statement. This should be done by the senior manager attending the presentation. Whoever this person is should tie together the sum of the meeting notes into the closing statement.

Should you want a certain deficiency corrected use this as the window of opportunity to instill a deadline and remind everyone of the expectations. Remember to thank everyone for his or her participation and involvement. Use this method to promote an exceptional award winning number one team because second best is like all the rest!