Negotiating Tip #61:
Principles for How To Conduct Team Play
Using a team approach to negotiating has advantages and costs; Mobus Creative Negotiating offers lessons for how to use this approach. Our first tip in this series focused on the benefits; the next looked at the costs; and this last one gives some bullet points of how to manage team negotiating.
Here are some all-weather guidelines for how to conduct team negotiations:
* Organize premeetings. If a team meets for the first time at the negotiating table, the members cannot be expected to know the plays.
* Be inclusive, within reason. The more constituencies from your firm represented on your team, the more credibility you will gain across the organization. Include both creative types and detailed-oriented personalities.
* Take the mission in hand. Project a clear vision for the deal’s objectives.
* Persuade, do not dictate. Don’t monopolize the discussion, but freely speak your mind. Enlist peers to influence people horizontally, as opposed to top down. Share information.
* Set your negotiating strategy in writing. Distinguish between your firm’s “likes” and “musts” by setting out both a “dream sheet” and a description of the minimal solution the firm can accept. Know what is your BATNA.
* Assign clear-cut roles. Too many speakers can confuse or undercut your message.
* Don’t assume everyone gets it. Call frequent caucuses to maintain a united front.
* Build a negotiating culture. Prompt disagreements and encourage debate. By disrupting consensus, wrong ideas often lead to novel, superior solutions.