For one reason or another, we are often called to negotiate, even when we don’t realise it. In fact, negotiation does not necessarily involve doing big deals such as taking over a company, or buying a house or car, it can also include dealing with small family matters.
The problem is that in most cases, negotiations fail because mistakes are made that undermine the outcome of the dispute. For example, when two people are trying to find a solution to a problem, it is a mistake to stand your ground. If one person sees white and the other sees black, it will be very difficult for them to reach an agreement, and even if they do, they will come up with grey, which would still be a compromise. The classic mistake is to have two people playing opposite roles: a good person who “gives in” and an aggressive one who “demands”. Neither of them will be happy with the end result. The person who wins might lose the respect or friendship of the person who lost to him, and the person who loses will feel belittled. It might have even been a real war, made up of clashes and spite, a push and pull where those who prefer a softer line had to give in to avoid further repercussions, and the side that takes a harder line exacerbated the conflict. And you see, even if this is the most common way to negotiate, it is still the least effective. This type of negotiation is called negotiation of position, which involves sticking steadfastly to a different point of view and way of looking at things.
Luckily however, negotiations don’t always go this way. It is possible to reach an agreement and also avoid conflict. This kind of result is one that comes from the real art of negotiation.