Thursday, July 8, 2010

Negotiations are coming to a close

Coming to a Close or Settlement
There are a number of signals that indicate that negotiations are coming to a close. This may not always mean that an agreement has been reached. In many cases, there are many rounds of negotiations. The preliminary round may uncover the major issues, while subsequent rounds may be needed to discuss and resolve them. Here are some signals of talks coming to a close:
•   A difference of opinion has been significantly reduced
•   One party suggests signing an agreement.
•   One or both parties indicate that a period of time to pause and reflect is necessary.
Beware of last-minute strong-arm tactics.
Even if you make the decision to treat your negotiating opponent with honesty and kindness, the other party may not extend you the same respect. Be prepared to stand your ground firmly, yet cordially, especially in the last few minutes of the negotiations. This is the time when manipulative parties may employ certain tactics in order to try to fool you into losing focus or lowering goals and standards. Remember that conflicts are generally resolved in the last few minutes. The theory behind last minute tactics is that one party may be more willing to give in out of fear that all of the concessions or progress made up to that point (perhaps hours or weeks of talks) might be lost. People also get tired or have other commitments that need that need to be met, such as making an important phone call before another business closes, or picking up children from school. Here are some last minutes tricks that negotiators often use at this time:
•    Walking out of the room
•    Offering a short-term bribe
•    Telling you to take it or leave it
•    Giving an ultimatum
•    Abrupt change in tone (used to shock the other party into submission)
•    Introducing new requests (used at to get you to concede with little thought or consideration)
•   Stating generalizations  without evidence (dropped without significant statistics/proof)
•    Adopting the Mr. Nice Guy persona (used to try to make it look like they are doing you a favour in hopes that you will lower your expectations)
Negotiation are coming to a close

Language to use in closing
•    It sounds like we 've found some common ground.
•    I'm willing to leave things there if you are.
•    Let's leave it this way for now.
•    I'm willing to work with that.
•    I think we both agree to these terms.
•    I'm satisfied with this decision.
•    I think we should get this in writing.
•    I'd like to stop and think about this for a little while.
•    You've given me a lot to think about/consider.
•    Would you be willing to sign a contract right now?
•    Let's meet again once we've had some time to think.
Formalize the agreement/negotiation
In most business negotiations it is a good idea to get something down in writing. Even if a decision has not been made, a letter of intent to continue the negotiation is often used. This is a way for each party to guarantee that talks will continue. A letter of intent often outlines the major issues that will be discussed in future negotiations. In some cases a confidentially agreement is also necessary. This is a promise from both parties to keep information private between discussions. When an agreement has been decided , a formal contract may be required. On the other hand, depending on the seriousness of the decision, and the level of trust between the two parties, a simple handshake and verbal agreement may be all that is needed. For example, an employer may offer a promotion and an employee may trust that the new salary will be reflected on the next paycheque. However, even if nothing is put formally in writing, it is wise to send an e-mail or letter that verifies the terms and puts the agreement on record, especially when a specific number is decided on.

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