The Language of Negotiation: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Improving Communication

By Joan Mulholland | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Particular problems

INTRODUCTION

Within negotiation there are two major problem areas that this chapter will discuss: first the need to maintain good social relationships during the kind of encounter which, by its very nature, must put them at risk; and second dealing with members of other cultures.

Negotiation is only necessary when there are differences among people, whether of opinion, interest, priority, purpose, or all of these. Moreover, the differences must become the focal point of the interaction, must be addressed, dealt with, and somehow incorporated in the final outcome. Some participants might have to make serious adjustments to their goals, and to accept compromises in accommodating themselves to an agreed settlement. All of this can be accomplished more easily if the cooperative relationship between them is sustained. In addition, if further encounters are necessary, and further dealings have to take place, it would be helpful if the good relationship could be sustained into the future.

Also, if the negotiations are likely to attract public notice, it is important that they demonstrate to anyone who might wish in the future to engage in negotiation with the people concerned that they would find it a well-conducted and amicable affair.

If the other participants belong to other cultures, then added to the inevitable difficulties of negotiation will be the possibility of fundamental misunderstandings and serious social damage.

This chapter will suggest ways of dealing with the likely problems in both cases.


STRATEGIES FOR GOOD RELATIONSHIPS

In every human interaction, whether it is a discussion, a formal debate or a negotiation, there will be present first a strongly developed personal need for face-saving, and second a strong social preference for agreement or, at

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