The Negotiation Process: Preparation and Practice
Argument Development worksheet
Date of completion: _______________
1. Who or what do you believe your adversary to be?
2. Are you able to identify one or more authorities accountable to your grievance/injury and therefore substantive to your argument? If so, who or what is that authority? Is there a primary authority?
3. Is this authority also your adversary? If so, why? If not, why?
4. Are you able to identify a failed process as the basis of your argument? If so, and if known, who and/ or what caused the process to fail?
5. How many participants are involved in the conflict?
6. What roles do the participants play? Are some contributing to conflict? Are others tying to resolve it? Do some benefit from the conflict? Are others more harmed than some? Note participants’ roles.
7. Of those involved, which are more aligned with your argument and which are more aligned with that of your adversary?
8. What is your primary grievance?
9. What is your adversary’s primary grievance?
10. Does your argument consider multiple perspectives – including counter perspectives and concurring perspectives?
11. Does your adversary’s argument consider multiple perspectives – including counter perspectives and concurring perspectives?
12. What are you proposing as a measure of mitigation or restitution? “What” may include accountability, acknowledgement, less public exposure, less resistance, a means to mitigate on-going damage, restitution, a variety of conditions, etc.
13. How, precisely will your proposal correct, or, aid in correcting your grievance?
14. What variables and conditions exist to justify or help justify your position, argument and/or proposal?
15. In what way might your adversary view your proposal as unreasonable or unjustified?
16. If known, what is your adversary proposing as a measure of mitigation or restitution?
17. If known, how, precisely will your adversary’s proposal correct, or, aid in correcting your grievance?
18. What variables and conditions exist to demonstrate that an adversary’s proposal is a dis-service to even their own apparent objectives?
19. What variables and conditions exist to demonstrate that an adversary’s proposal is unreasonable or
20. What variables and conditions exist to demonstrate that an adversary’s proposal is justified?
21. How have opposing needs driven one or more parties toward negotiation as a means of mitigation or redress? This may include recent events acting as triggers as well as a sense of urgency; severity of damages; future risks, etc.
22. What is the premise of your argument? In other words, what assumptions or projections depend upon and therefore form its basis and rationale? For example, are you directly or indirectly challenging your adversary’s premise through your own premise? Are you revealing new circumstances or possibilities which draw your adversary’s assumptions into question? Are you advancing an alternate theory? Because a premise forms the reason for subsequent action, it can either introduce vulnerability or provide strong defense for an argument. Does an underlying agenda accompany your premise? If so, how does it or could it affect the validity of your argument, especially if it appears contradictory to higher goals?
23. Has your argument been considered within the appropriate context of circumstances, inclusive of mitigating circumstances?
24. Have you, in any way, acted counter to supporting your own premise; that is, acted in a contradictory manner or relied upon contradictory logic? If so, how and why?
25. What appears to be the premise of your adversary’s argument? Does an underlying agenda accompany their premise? If so, how does it or could it affect the validity of their argument, especially if it appears contradictory to higher goals?
26. Has your adversary’s argument been considered within the appropriate context of circumstances, inclusive of mitigating circumstances?
27. Has your adversary, in any way, acted counter to supporting their own premise; that is, acted in a contradictory manner or relied upon contradictory logic? If so, how and why?
28. Is one or more party in more of an advantageous position than others? If so, how so?
29. What factors may be working to your advantage which support your premise?
30. What factors may be working in your opponent’s favor which could undermine your current position and destabilize the premise of your argument?
31. Is your argument based on facts which you believe to be accurate? If so, note the most influential facts here in order of priority and/or chronologically.
32. Many arguments are built upon both fact and speculation. If components of your argument are speculative, what are the components and upon what assumptions do they stand? How well supported, by existing fact assumed to be accurate, are the assumptions?
33. Is evidence obtainable which would substantiate speculation and contribute to fact? If so, list it and note how to obtain it. Supporting statistical evidence should be factual, inclusive of material input, accurate, precise and capable of withstanding objective scrutiny. Therefore, note particular risks to statistical evidence.
34. Does your argument demonstrate a strong correlation between cause and effect? If so, note how.
35. Is the proposed cause and effect logical and support practical sense? If so, in what ways?
36. Is the proposed cause and effect rational and based upon unemotional, objective reasoning? If so, how specifically is your argument made less vulnerable to challenge by such reasoning?
37. Is your argument presented in proportion to circumstances including risks, and benefits – to both you and your adversary?
38. Is your argument free of bias?
39. Are there supporting conditions which have contributed to the cause or effect? If so, list them. Often these conditions are precursory; complicate things; or, make matters worse.
40. Can you demonstrate a chronological or otherwise sequential series of circumstances which have resulted in conditions giving rise to the dispute and desire to negotiate? If so, note them generally and sequentially.
41. Do you have proof of accusations or measurable injury? If so, note the evidence.
42. Do others who are credible and/or influential support your position with either opinion of expert analysis? If so, note them; the value of their support; and, their reason for support. Are these experts appropriately qualified? Can they withstand well-reasoned opposing argument?
43. How effectively can you distill your argument, driving the essence of your point? Frame your argument within a summary of 500 words on a separate sheet of paper focusing on the most important points and supporting evidence.
44. Revise your 500 word summary to a 300 word statement. This exercise will likely prove invaluable, not only in helping you realize the essence of your argument, but also for purposes of media and educational campaigning.
45. Can you provide illustrative and quantitative context for your point with comparable situations literal or figurative? If so, what would they be? An example might be a statistical reference to an equivalent quantity or threshold as well as the known consequences of exceeding it. Using such an example would logically suggest similar or even correlative conclusions in support of your argument. Such examples serve different purposes. Those similar in circumstances tend to be more supportive of literal argument. Those similar merely in scope or illustrating degrees of severity tend to better support a figurative comparison but can be no less influential in helping allies and adversaries visualize issues. Complete this statement: This situation is similar in basis to…
46. Would visual aids assist in strengthening and/or conveying your point? If so, how could charts, graphs, models, photographs, video, a slide presentation, or similar aid assist?
47. How has your adversary acted to cause you to defend your position? Note specific instances relative to facts, damages and access to authority noted elsewhere herein.
48. What can your adversary offer which could move you to modify your position?
49. Your adversary is likely to counter many aspects of your proposal in a negotiation: How might your adversary counter your position, that is, your requests and reasons for them?
50. How might your adversary counter your argument, its premise, its logic or rationale?
51. How might your adversary counter your evidence and sources of fact? Other experts? Questionable or unverifiable sources of information? Skewed statistical data?
52. How might they counter your objectivity, capacity, credentials or even character?
53. Based upon your adversary’s strongest defense, counter arguments and tactics to refute… how well do they stand up to their own measures of questioning? In other words, if your adversary says: “You have no proof…” how well could they defend against the same assertion? Examine your adversary’s argument against counter-claims and assertions, noting their strengths and vulnerabilities here.
Distilled Knowledge / Guided Implementation
54. List the main issues this worksheet revealed about your argument, including strengths, weaknesses and dependencies:
55. Create a short summary explaining how this information relates to a big-picture view of the situation inclusive of relevant important details.
56. How is the development of your argument best implemented?
57. What next steps does the development of your argument suggest and support?
Engaging in the Negotiation Process
From the moment of deciding negotiation is the course to pursue, to shaking hands and calling it a day, what might a negotiation process look like from a field perspective?
This segment takes you down that figurative road, introducing you to both potentials and pitfalls worthy of close consideration.
The value of a shake-down cruise in advance of talks
When preparing for a vital logistics operation, you’ll want to test your equipment, planning, resourcefulness and potential outcome in advance. When two opponents meet to negotiate, the purpose is initially and largely one of defining the scope of conflict. Each side wants to know the position and fortification of the other. Each side wants to overtly dispense with non-controversial issues. Eventually, the goal becomes that of constructing a mutually acceptable compromise, or otherwise reaching inspired resolution.
To achieve this you must recognize the many facets of your argument and defense. In order to identify potential weaknesses in your armor, conduct a mock negotiation, appointing someone intimately familiar with the situation to aggressively represent your adversary and their interests. Hammer through the negotiation process, then swap roles and hammer through it again. Assuming the role of your adversary – getting into the head of your opponent and uttering, yourself, the words you are sure to hear hurled at you during negotiations – will go far in preparing you for the emotional volatility to follow. Note every chink in your armor throughout this process and weld it shut.
Navigating around and beyond the first move in negotiation
In tense, high-stakes negotiation situations, making the first move can take on inflated significance and provide an opportunity for over-analysis and misread signals by opposing participants. This can result in costly delay when the focus should be upon timely resolution.
Knowledge of the attributes which characterize the “first move” as well as subsequent reactions in your opponent can help dispel any associated stigma and focus your efforts on resolution rather than appearances. Following are suggestions in planning your offer as well as strategies for avoiding firstmove-phobia while making the most of fist-move opportunity.
Offers may accompany the first move in negotiation though they need not. An offer can be any means of presenting solution to a dispute. As such, they often find form in the way of monetary compensation or incentive; conditions; or, some combination thereof. When an offer does accompany the first move in a negotiation, realistic expectations of its presentation and scope can prepare you for the difficult work of dissection and re-proposal.
A common basis for delaying a first offer is the hope that one’s adversary will act first and be more than generous with their offer. Of course, the adversary is hoping likewise – in that their opposition will accept something far less than should be reasonably expected.
In receiving your adversary’s offer, or, in gauging their reaction to yours, realize a large, organized adversary – particularly a commercial one - may present a predetermined amount based upon likely outcomes of both litigation and settlement. You should realize, however, this amount may be based on the circumstances as they now stand, or as your opponent knows them. You or your adversary’s possession or pursuit of undisclosed information could cause a critical shift in leverage and the accounting of potential concessions.
In some circumstances you may gain an appreciable advantage if your opponent makes the first move by presenting an offer. That is, assuming the first move supports an offer. As a matter of form and rule of thumb, he or she who suggests negotiations should be prepared to make the first offer. In some cases, however, the first move may simply be an offer to talk – that is, participate in more of an evaluative, and less of a conclusive, round of conversation. For the purposes of this segment let’s assume that the first “move” does indeed represent an associated offer, whether or not immediately evident.
If the value of your disruption is so ambiguous that you must rely upon an opponent’s first offer to provide a context of exchange, you may benefit from allowing your opponent to delineate that value. But, it will probably be conservative. A safe assumption is that your adversary will impel you to justify every request for conditions or a monetary equivalent and work aggressively to extend the boundaries they establish through their initial offer. Further, your opponent will probably believe your initial offer is subjectively likewise restrained and will be artificially inflated.
An offer, regardless of form, is a proposal of solution. Therefore, it often becomes the focus and subject of debate and disassembling, particularly when less fair in its structure.
Typically, conditions or amounts presented will be based upon either a “wish” list or a “need” list – as well as any combination of the two. Knowing as much as possible about your opponent’s vulnerabilities, strengths and capabilities will help you determine the context of the request, as well as their reluctance to properly redress any losses through the extension of a fair offer, should this be the case.
In determining a counter-offer, should you elect to present one, you may disregard the rationale of your adversary, in part or in total, choosing instead to counter with an offer you feel is grounded in stark reality. While this may seem a logical approach, reciprocating, by keeping your requests within the context and scope which your adversary has introduced, may assist in managing your adversary’s expectations of your proposal.
It’s my preference to simply quantify an offer through careful analysis of how actual and/or apparent loss departs from status quo; assign a monetary or conditions-based equivalent value of exchange to that departure; and, present the offer. This approach immediately frames the request within the context of need; clarifies the issues at hand; and, dispenses with unrealistic expectations which can obscure the search for solution as well as structures of compromise.
Despite the simplified approach outlined above, there is often great and justifiable consternation in determining the final form of an offer. A margin of adjustment is usually highly desired by both parties.
Imposing fixed expectations upon an offer artificially constrains access to creative means of agreement. A flexible margin provides the offer and counter-offer areas for comfortable contraction and expansion, ultimately allowing a tailored fit between both parties.
Unfortunately, an effort to allow a margin of flexibility is often misinterpreted as an effort to begin with expanded expectation and therefore an effort to mislead. This tendency given rise to the common assumptions governing what are perceived as “high-ball” and “low-ball” offers.
One such assumption is that by over-inflating or high-balling an offer, you are asking for more than you expect to receive; but, since you can yield more from within this artificial zone, your true aim is to secure at least what you need and maybe more.
In contrast, the low-ball withholds reasonable accommodations in order to ideally force the recipient into greater concessions.
In order to help curtail the tendency toward high-ball and low-ball offers, as well as the assumptions which accompany them, when presenting your offer, be sure to present reasonable justification for its parameters, perhaps even highlighting specific areas where you can accommodate shift or variance.
Since you can safely assume you’ll be strongly advocating for every inch gained, the more familiar you are with your concessions, the more you will be able to trim the margin within a reasonable range. If you play by these rules, you should expect the same from your opponent.
An offer can come at any time during the negotiation process. In order to give your offer the proper recognition is deserves, prepare, in advance, a foundation for its presentation. This must include a rational argument defending your requests. It is also quite likely to benefit from framing, a technique which involves organizing, shaping and presenting the context of information. A detailed account of framing technique can be found in this book’s chapter: Turn Objections into Concessions and Adversaries into Advocates in Negotiations. In order to help prevent your opponent from keeling over from a heart attack or fit of mirth when you present your offer, you should make sure it is fair, just and grounded in reality. The reality should reflect your objective and research, which you can produce to justify the basis for it.
The sooner even a preliminary offer is on the table, the sooner everyone can get down to the business of restructuring proposals and dissecting compromise – bit by bit. Constructing an appropriate foundation can provide everyone the preliminary parameters within which a solution can be more quickly crafted.
Negations can suffer a time crises due to hesitation often arising from perceptions revolving around who makes the first move. I’m of the belief that worrying over who makes the first offer and harboring any assumptions which surround it allows too much emphasis to be placed upon posturing.
Though it’s wise to assume that a suggestion to negotiate may occur in order to enhance a leveraged advantage, it could be false to assume that negotiation has been suggested out of desperation. Such an invitation may simply reflect respect, an appreciation of resource conservation, and simple good sense.
In order to navigate around the first move, you have to engage in thinking patterns beyond the linear. Whereas negotiations can be thought of as a step by step process, and the process may move forward in a linear fashion, the moves and strikes that occur in order to push negotiation forward take place all over the board, dimensionally.
Contemplate your strategy
Evolved negotiations involve long range strategic planning and execution, but such strategic tactics and advantages can distill into exercised leverage during talks. Therefore, it is vital to engage in discussion fully informed of your position and in possession of a strong and strategic plan of implementation.
Based on the course discussions take and what they may reveal, you should be capable of acting both offensively and defensively in order to protect your interests. That might mean anticipating an adversary’s suggestion to minimize an offer, and quickly countering their leverage, driving discussion back to the point of beginning. It might mean staging a series of small advances orchestrated to secure a particular concession from your adversary. It could mean, recognizing when you are being led and lured through an adversary’s small sacrifices.
Engaging in mock scenarios with a partner who can assume the role of your adversary can provide a sense of how negotiations might play out, and could even reveal surprising strategies along the way. Strategy games can be a simple, inexpensive, efficient, and effective technique in sharpening your strategy skills. The greater the variety and level of complexity, the greater the degree of flexible thinking you can achieve.
Throughout negotiations, be wary of all motives which may be attached to anything your adversary requests or concedes – somewhere, there is a benefit to be found. Your intelligence collection efforts should illuminate any such connections.
The more you know about your adversary’s strengths, weaknesses, motives, and past patterns of behavior in similar circumstances, the more you’ll be able to anticipate their moves and counter moves, and more fully analyze what is on the table and what might be concealed.
Timing is critical for each maneuver in negotiation, particularly as it relates to using leverage. As with any game of strategy, you will have to develop a feel for when the time is right to make a move.
In negotiation or any other goal worth pursuing, you should be prepared for risk. If the risk is calculated – make sure you know how many factors you’ve considered and whether previous wins or concessions have changed the landscape of your calculations. If a risk is uncalculated but seems worthy of exploration, determine in advance how far you’re willing to wade into the unknown.
Stay light on your feet.
It’s a good bet your opponent will immediately try to position you into a defensive and reactionary mode. Don’t take the bait. You’ll have a better chance of recognizing this tactic if you are well-prepared for your adversary’s attack and defense. A negotiator positioned into a reactionary mode is like a prize fighter on the ropes. Methods used to get you there may not always be obvious. Since three of your greatest vulnerabilities are loss of emotional control; a poorly designed defense; and, insufficient material evidence to substantiate your claim, your adversary will probably attack these weaknesses first.
The flotsam and jetsam of conflict have a way of coalescing into a swirling mass of objectionable debris and target objectives during the intensity of negotiations. Eliminating the influence of ego, suppressing tell-tale emotion, and remaining calm and objective can lend both shield and stability in the face of such an onslaught.
Ideally, only you can grant someone the authority to anger you. Don’t let your adversary disturb your emotional stability, unless you allow them to do so purposefully so as to expose a trigger which you want them to see, but don’t want to appear to volunteer. A negotiation is a risky platform for revealing emotion – unless it is a carefully considered allowance in order to legitimately convey your situation. In that case, exposing a degree of vulnerability may be beneficial – but be careful not to get carried away. You could end up prematurely revealing more than you intend with what seems like an attentive and sensitive audience.
Manage your higher authority and remember the power of “I don’t know.”
It’s unrealistic to expect that you will be prepared for every contingency on your first step out into negotiations. Depending upon the complexity of your situation, you may wish to structure two or three meetings as you work from concept to details and framework. “I don’t know” defers your authority at least temporarily, and can be used by and against you as a stall tactic. You need to manage this from your end. Allowing mutual flexibility is likely to produce constructive results; however, you must be aware of how your adversary’s delays may be benefiting them and harming you. Is their delay causing some of your leverage to weaken? Might they suspect this? A good bet is, probably. Pressure, in the form of working your key leverage while it is still strong, may be warranted.
Of benefit, deferring to a higher authority can build empathy, reduce competitive impulses and inspire greater neutrality (and its implied flexibility in solution-seeking) among participants; however, bad form resides on either side of this thin line. Opponents associated with large, organized structures, particularly representatives in the lower to mid-level management range, are quite likely to defer to a higher authority during negotiations; and, as an individual, you may be comforted by great reliance on yours. While it is perfectly reasonable to desire time to review a proposal, both parties should be prepared to make basic decisions reasonably attendant to discussions.
If pressure intensifies surrounding a pivotal issue and you find you cannot make a confident decision, your higher authority option may be the appropriate solution. Your higher authority could be anyone, such as a family member or an attorney. A failure to act immediately could cost you the offered option, but often, high-pressure tactics are more closely associated with bad-faith motives. Is there a reason your adversary doesn’t want you to consult with your attorney? Is there something inherently unfair about their proposal? When agreements are argued or later defended in court, judges and juries generally frown upon those which tend to unduly favor one side over another.
Reserving the right to allow your higher authority to review the proposal may actually benefit your adversary more than they might suspect. It can provide a greater likelihood the basic framework will be salvageable while ensuring both side’s essential needs are met. If your adversary is at all sincere, this gives them hope you aren’t outright rejecting their proposal or sidestepping it. You could assure them you are simply investing the proper attention in preserving the possibilities of an agreement – based on their proposal.
Remember the power of "Yes" and “No”
"Yes" is implied within an offer to negotiate. "No", however, can feel much more daunting in the face of driving need, especially when your value in an unbalanced situation feels tenuous. Feel free to say “no”. Savor it. Appreciate it. For such a little word, it can pack a lot of power.
The word, itself, isn’t to blame for the uncomfortable feelings it tends to evoke; but, the assumption that it must be defended often discourages its use. So prepare to defend it.
The beauty of “no” is that it allows both parties room to maneuver forward or back on a tough point. Practice saying “no” to yourself, and have someone say it to you. Get used to hearing how it sounds and realize how it empowers you to get down to the real work of negotiations. “No” does not usually represent a blanket rejection. It is more often an objection to part of a proposal. Make that clear during discussions. For every offer on the table, disassemble it and find points of agreement. Begin designing a workable solution from there.
Both "Yes" and "No" represent sharp tools with the capacity to pare and unrecognizable process comprised of conditions, requests, objections and concessions into a sleek and functional form of resolution.
There is a fine line between revealing your plan of attack and reserving your strategy or game plan. Your overall means-to-an-end will reveal itself when you frame the issues within context for you opponent. But, you should guard your timing and preservation of personal process by strategically implementing key leverage when certain language or parameters indicate it’s time.
Regardless of whether your opponent sets the pace or you do, you can lead your opponent, through the use of topic and language, into your structured process. By presenting your proposal in close association with reasoning and context in a sequential and symbiotic order, you can draw your opponent through your priorities and concessions in a logical manner which leverages your approach, demeanor and requests. They will probably do the same, or should.
Levers can break, and can be used in reverse. Be aware of how your levers are situated and under what circumstances they may become vulnerable. A series of levers used to build a coalition can be applied against a coalition.
Call for a break
Take a time out when necessary, but not at a time when it may appear obvious you need to regroup, such as when your team is unorganized or at odds. Call for a break during a moment of neutrality or cordial exchange and hammer out differences with your colleagues anywhere but in the presence of your adversaries. Pre-scheduled breaks may be appropriate, but can be a hindrance when you and your opponent are making good strides.
Evoking the power of silence
Silence can be golden – and may accompany a bluff as readily as it does a heart-felt and deeply defended conviction. Silence is more effective if you are negotiating alone or as a member of a team when your partner can distinguish that the ball has been thrown in your adversary’s court.
If you are working with a partner who cannot bear the weight of a silent moment - or consecutively, two or three, rethink implementing it, since in doing so, there’s a chance your partner will fill the void with essential information; acting without sufficient forbearance; dismissing or skipping over an important foreshadowing issue; or, giving away your position simply to alleviate what they perceive as an awkward moment.
Pauses shouldn’t be feared. Just as when working with the media, incorporate a substantial pause into each of your responses. That way, when you actually need it – you won’t be suggesting doubt. Conducting a conversation in this manner helps you appear calm, confident, measured and prepared for anything your opponent may throw at you – even when you’re not.
Silence is a neutral tool. It should be coveted, never squandered or misused. It provides several opportunities to level things out. It can calm nerves; build tension; introduce suspicion that an adversary has tread into dangerous territory; or, give someone a chance to re-group or develop an appropriate response.
How silence is broken is as important is how it is initiated. Your sense of timing should reflect exactly what you want to convey to your opponent and to what degree of severity. Your opponent may attempt to lessen the power of silence with a look, a sigh, or subtle-but meaningful body language. You can hold your inflection by remaining neutral in your response to their animation. When working with skilled communicators, what is actually said during this kind of display can speak volumes on both sides, so interpret well and don’t overplay.
Moving beyond stasis and structuring compromise
One of the most singularly gratifying aspects of negotiations is guiding stalwart opposition into compromise without sacrificing fundamental factors of either participant’s resistance.
This segment examines the dynamics of compromise, taking an abstract ideal and presenting it within a concrete form. This model will aid in the visualization of a forward-moving collaborative structure by examining the “give and take” exchange inspired by the use of various leverage mechanisms which form its foundation.
After positioning, secondary fact-finding, and perhaps repositioning, the next task in conducting a negotiation is to dispense with all non-controversial issues, while mutually identifying those issues which have created stasis in momentum.
If, after these measures have been taken, it is apparent that each side remains committed to seeking resolution, your next task is to deconstruct this broad focal point comprised of contentious issues by dissecting the attendant objections of each.
This is accomplished by looking closely at each participant’s means of achieving equity compared with their desire to maintain equilibrium.
In order to more easily assess this sometimes fluid situation, ask two qualifying questions to establish a baseline of need from which you can begin addressing solutions through real conversation.
1) What, and under what circumstances, can you give?
2) What appears under any circumstances to be non-negotiable?
Once objections and the reasons for them are fairly determinable, both parties can begin to move agreement forward through three primary pathways:
● Conceding – which is an act of compromise
● Compelling – which is a competitive act
● Cooperating – which is a collaborative act
By yielding a point of contention; convincing your opponent to yield; or, constructing a cooperative solution, you are providing powerful methods of achieving compromise through the introduction of resolution options. All three pathways to agreement are initiated by offering something that the other participant desires, either through want or need.
Realize, the answers to the qualifying questions above may alter or become more evident once the wheels of compromise begin turning and both parties begin to experience actual progress. This builds contentment and confidence which leads to an enriched environment of cooperation.
Unbalanced, protracted and complicated conflicts often benefit from an evolved approach to negotiations in an effort to steer influential conditions toward positive transformation. This is especially true for conflicts which oppress unalienable human rights, such as a freedom and access to lifesustaining environmental conditions. Strategically guided transformative conditions can inspire and support more target-specific negotiation opportunities while advancing toward a more distant objective.
Historically, such transformation has reflected a consistent pattern of involvement which has resulted in the beneficial evolution of humanity, itself. That pattern can be reflected in fifteen steps:
Step One – Holistic regard
Step Two – Research consistencies and contradictions
Step Three – Corroborate and quantify
Step Four – Identify specific failures associated with adversary’s actions
Step Five – Identify specific failures within and among protective authorities
Step Six – Identify the support structure of conflict
Step Seven – Identify cultural compatibilities and incompatibilities
Step Eight – Identify alternatives and barriers thwarting their implementation
Step Nine – Holistically regard weaknesses within the solution structure
Step Ten – Identify combined failures and explore their relationships
Step Eleven – Address challenges forestalling solution, and inspire cooperation
Step Twelve – Expose failed system weakness
Step Thirteen – Inform and ally toward transformation
Step Fourteen – Promote solutions
Step Fifteen – Engage, and resist re-absorption or corruption
Your adversary is likely to diligently work toward disassembling a formidable coalition, striving to finally weaken leadership and cornerstones either by diminishing resources or complying with their individual needs apart from unified coalition demands.
Those steps involve:
● Examination of divergent and congruent testimony from vested stakeholders; and,
● Identification of influential realms supporting conditions;
● Identification of correlations.
Steps also involve recognizing and working through barriers barring comprehensive inquiry into:
● Contradictions as well as consistencies;
● Supporting systems, relationships and mechanisms; as well as,
● Comprehensive system vulnerability and failure.
Steps also involve:
● Identification of cultural incompatibly;
● The identification of alternative solutions and their vulnerabilities;
● Exposing failures and developing an allied network; and,
● Concerted efforts toward solution strengthening, promotion and implementation.
The fifteen step process can contribute value to the disenfranchised and serve to inspire a heavily fortified adversary toward negotiations as a means of neutralizing or minimizing conflict which they, themselves, may have long ago initiated. It represents a guiding light upon a shared path forward.
The process of negotiation is unique to every negotiator and the situations which compel them toward agreement. An evolved process is likely to produce opportunities to engage target-specific negotiations along a timeline of guided transformation, ending in a final negotiation intended to secure an overarching objective.
Whether comprised of one or many negotiations, good faith efforts generally follow a similar rhythm of:
● First gestures;
● The presentation of an offer,
● Substantiating one’s position through sound argument;
● The dissection of compromise; and,
● The building of ideally mutually beneficial accord.
Every negotiator will bring their own style, nuance and technique to a negotiation situation, and certainly, the above steps in the process may deviate in sequence. Indeed, break-downs, threats and uneven solutions may abound.
Positions, arguments and proposals share a platform of reason, but, argument forms the defense for all. Argument, then, must become a tempered, sharp, agile and accurate instrument of both offense and defense.
The potential for intimidation and negative outcome can be greatly reduced and the process made more predictable through:
● The development of a rational, defensible argument, which includes;
❍ Defining your position;
❍ Directing your argument toward the appropriate recipient;
❍ Establishing the basis of your argument;
❍ Better identifying its strengths, vulnerabilities and nuance;
❍ Anticipating specific challenges likely to be posed by your adversary; and
❍ Bolstering your abilities to refute counter-argument.
● The institution of measures to strengthen argument where it may be weak;
● The development of a strategic approach to the negotiation process; and,
● Practiced engagement.
Further beneficial reading in You And What Army?... specific to this chapter’s interests and abilities:
Identifying and Managing Situational Variables Throughout Negotiations
Enhance Negotiation Predictability through the Development of Influential Strategies Based on Rational Decision
The Intelligence Quotient: Empowering Your Negotiating Position with Information
Neutralizing False Leads and Misinformation Campaigns in Negotiations
Become a Persuasive Negotiator Through Better Communication
Turn Objections into Concessions and Adversaries into Advocates in Negotiations
Tipping the Balance: Identifying and Implementing Leverage to Strengthen Your Negotiating Position