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)
61 Independent and credible experts
Sometimes in a negotiation your word and any documentation you’ve presented to the other party is insufficient to prove your claims or assuage their doubts. Sometimes the other party is inclined or committed to scepticism, denial, or dishonesty due to greed or conflicts of interest. At this point, you may need the testimony of an independent and credible expert to resolve the impasse and move the negotiation forward to a successful conclusion.
Utilising independent and credible experts must be done with forethought, caution, and thorough preparation. In a business negotiation, such independent expert testimony can provide the evidence or proof the other party needs to make a decision and close a deal. If a negotiation is adversarial, you may need an independent and credible expert to prove your case or counter the other party’s false claims or accusations. Such testimony can provide evidence and proof of the other party’s culpability, dishonesty, or refusal to acknowledge facts, or of their unethical, illegal, or unreasonable behavior.
In adversarial negotiations, in-depth questioning and thorough preparation of your independent experts is essential to ensure that their testimony clearly proves your claims or disproves the other party’s. You must also try to anticipate how the opposing party might react or respond, and prepare in advance to deal with various contingencies. For example, they may produce their own expert to dispute your assertions or facts and discredit you. In such cases, your independent expert’s testimony must be compelling, provable, and backed up by credible documentation.
A good rule of thumb is that expertise presented in writing or documentation usually trumps verbal expertise, which can be cross-examined and found to have a flaw. Expertise published in professional journals or books is generally best. It carries more gravitas, it isn’t subject to verbal interrogation, and it can’t become emotional, flustered, or defensive the way a human expert can under duress. Also, when challenging an expert’s testimony, never make it personal. Challenge the testimony rather than the person. Making it personal, becoming emotional, or showing disrespect to the expert, only makes you look weak, unprepared, or incompetent. Uneducated or unsubstantiated attempts to discredit an expert can easily backfire, and discredit you.