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What are the five steps to a successful negotiation?


Steps? We're not talking about a frakking dance here. Commit yourself to some fixed set of steps in a negotiation and you'll find yourself knocked on your ass by an opponent who's allowed himself more flexibility than you did.

But if you want guidelines, those I can give you.

1. Learn the opposition. Learn them in detail, their strengths, weaknesses and routines. Even a minor detail may prove more useful than it seems. Never underestimate those who appear weak, nor overestimate those who appear strong.

2. Learn the field. The field, in the context of a negotiation, is that which is being contested. Learn its importance, not just to the two sides contesting, but to anyone else with an interest.

3. Never make any claims you're not prepared to back up. This does not mean don't lie, bluff or otherwise bullshit. Just be prepared for the consequences if the opposition finds out about it.

4. Watch your opportunities. There may be more than one way to achieve your goal, or even more than one goal that will suit your purposes. Never get so focused on one process that you blind yourself to other possibilities.

5. Know when to cut your losses ... or allow your opposition to cut theirs. Of course, the man who taught me always claimed that if you followed the first four directions well enough, you'd never have any losses to cut. Most of the time he was very annoyingly right.

The man who taught me all of the above, by the way, was not some instructor of military strategy in officer's training. No, I absorbed those guidelines half-unwillingly, by growing up as the son of the master of persuasion and verbal tactics, Joseph Adama. When I was a kid I swore I'd never put myself in a position to have to use those lessons.

Funny how things work out.


Muse: Admiral William Adama
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica '03
Word count: 313

Date: 2008-09-19 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arrow-of-apollo.livejournal.com
Heh. Yeah, I've got to admit I've cracked Grandpa's books myself a couple of times since taking office.

Date: 2008-11-16 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] admiral-adama.livejournal.com
You're on his turf now, Lee. I can't say I envy you, but I do think you can handle it.

Date: 2008-11-17 03:44 pm (UTC)

Date: 2008-09-19 01:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laura-muse.livejournal.com
So that's why you changed.

But I've got to disagree with you. Negotiation is a dance in and of itself. The better the negotiator, the more dangerous the dance.

1. I'd say you and I made the grade on number one back when this journey of ours started. I, however, gave myself heavy deductions for underestimating your response to my visions. Or hallucinations, as you no doubt thought them.

2. You had a leg up on me in knowing the field, Admiral. That's not to say that I wasn't any more in over my head than you were. But you at least knew your crew, what they were capable of, and you'd been in command of two separate battlestars for a number of years. Thinking back and trying to see it from your point of view, you must have been furious to think that the only thing you had to work with back then was a glorified schoolteacher.

3. She didn't believe me when I told her you had spun a nice fairy tale of hope surrounding Earth. It wasn't until she had seen you and spoken to you that she accepted my version of the story. You should work on your poker face when it comes to those close to you, Admiral.

4. I'm just glad we've always had several opportunities. But you may need to school me in the fine art of avoiding tunnel vision. Most of the mistakes I've made as President have involved my singular focus.

[locked to Bill]

5. You probably should cut your losses. It gets uglier from here on out.

Lost in translation

Date: 2008-09-19 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] altitudeandwine.livejournal.com
*takes notes*
Well said.

*translates for innocent bystanders*

1. Learn the opposition. Learn in detail, strengths, weaknesses and routines. Even a minor detail may prove more useful than it seems. Never underestimate when she appears weak, nor overestimate when she appears strong.

2. Learn the field . The field , in the context of a negotiation, is that which is being contested. Learn its importance, not just to the two sides contesting, but to anyone else with an interest. ()

3. Never make any claims you're not prepared to back up. This does not mean don't lie, bluff, or otherwise bullshit. Just be prepared for the consequences if the opposition finds out about it.


4. Watch your opportunities. There may be more than one way to achieve your goal, or even more than one goal that will suit your purposes.

Never get so focused on one process that you blind yourself to other possibilities.

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September 2009

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