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How to pack up your tent

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

46 Exiting gracefully

Let’s face it, not every meeting between two parties is a good match. There are going to be certain negotiations where the “vibes” between the parties are so awkward or incompatible that pursuing the negotiation will be futile or counterproductive. When a negotiation isn’t workable or has gone off the rails, it is best to terminate it as quickly and diplomatically as possible. Wisdom in such cases is knowing when to pack up your tent and leave. Courage is doing it.

Initiating a graceful exit is like closing a deal without a sale. It takes decisiveness and a willingness to cut your losses and move on. While it’s awkward to end a meeting or negotiation that has barely begun, it’s even more awkward to allow the folly to proceed to an unpleasant, unproductive, or even bitter end. So, graceful exit strategies are an essential tool of a good negotiator.

If you’re representing only yourself in a negotiation, and not a company, and you know you will not be dealing with the other party again (or vice versa), you can end less diplomatically and more abruptly (though never rudely). You can say something simple and direct, like, “You know, I don’t think this is going to work. Shall we just wrap it up and call it a day?”

Or, if it seems best, you can choose to play out a polite charade to bring things to a diplomatic conclusion. “Well, I think I’ve got enough information. I’ll need a little time to think about it and consult my partner/wife/accountant, etc.”

If you are representing a company for which a compromised negotiation still holds potential value, you will definitely need to take the diplomatic route. You don’t want your words or actions to irreparably damage a negotiation and harm your organisation’s business interests. In such cases, you can suggest that someone else in your organisation, who is “more qualified in this area” and better able to serve the other party’s interests, takes your place.

Great negotiators are sensitive to a negotiation’s potential, or lack thereof. And they are willing and able to make a graceful exit, and move on when it’s time to do so.


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