Tips For Budget Negotiations

As the House and Senate try to negotiate a compromise spending bill. Will they come up with a solution that works? Who knows? It seems many of our legislators are using tactics that will derail any possible chance of a successful outcome.

D.O.M. magazine contributor J.D. McHenry has written on the subject of successful negotiations. Here are five common mistakes that can plague a negotiation:

1. Don’t enter into a negotiation with unreasonably high demands and hoping for a fast compromise.

When we have unreasonably high demands during negotiations, failure in negotiating will often occur. For example, two men haggle over an orange, each wanting the whole thing. Finally, they compromise and split the orange. Each of them gets half the orange instead of the whole as they initially wanted. What neither man realized is that one only wanted the juice of the orange whereas the other only wanted the skin. By compromising on artificially high needs, the men never took enough time to find a creative solution that would have helped them both equally.

2. Don’t express disapproval or close the door on an unfavorable option too fast.

We rarely know all there is to know about a given situation. By closing the door on an option too soon, we might never discover a piece of information that could suddenly make the situation worthwhile. Additionally, things change. What might not have worked last week might be subjected to a whole new set of variables that could make the situation profitable for us this week.

Quick disapproval not only can cheat us out of a transaction, it can also provoke an undesired reaction from the person on the other side of the table. If we present a closed-minded image to the other person, that person is going to see little use in any further discussion or exploration with us.

3. Don’t try to handle the toughest issues first.

People tend to attack the biggest problems first and do the easy ones later. What usually happens is that we never get past that initial hurdle, and we create a lot of frustration. The best thing to do is start with minor issues that are more easily negotiable. Get the relationship going well and build some momentum before tackling the tougher problems.

4. Don’t assume.

When we act as if an assumption is a fact, we are stuck with that premise and the situation often becomes unsuccessful. We shouldn’t assume. We need to find out what the other side really wants. We need to ask the right questions and we must listen to what they are saying.

5. Don’t get defensive and hide information.

Rather than looking at the people on the other side of the table as an enemy from whom we have to hide our information, think of them as part of a team solving a mutual problem. The more information the team can combine, the faster we will reach our goal. We should share what we know with others and encourage others to do likewise.

To read McHenry's full article and get more negotiation tips, click HERE.

Thanks for reading!


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