Negotiating Tip/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on June 19, 2016


This negotiation strategy comes from this week’s segment of the Harvard Program on Negotiation:

Sunday Minute Summary: Don’t just focus on what each party wants in your negotiations. Adopt an investigative mindset and ask why?

A teacher of mine once stated that people do not do things without reason. They may do things for a bad reason, but a reason underlies human decisions. Try to find out why your opposing party wants something from their negotiation. Asking “why” may convince you that there is merit in their request. Or it may convince you that the opposing party believes there is merit in their request. Or it may help you try to to the point of Win-Win where everybody will get something they need from the negotiation. Assume that there is some logic in what the opposing party is seeking.  But also be aware that it is very difficult to get to know what the underlying reason is unless you ask the question “why”. What is the reason you want X? It is a simple way to gain insights as well as new possibilities for a proper dispute resolution.