A joint benefit does not mean that it is a shared benefit
Maximizing the results of a negotiation depends upon the preparation and planning, the right behaviors from both parties, and the incentives and sanctions. There are other methods of obtaining what you want without the ambit of negotiation such as violence, stealing, sues, coercion, persuasion, postponing, giving in or imposing.
Negotiation produces jointly created benefits because we trade in areas of lesser importance to gain in areas of greater importance. We can negotiate because people have different perceptions of the same reality. They negotiate over the same item in different ways according to their perception or needs. For example one party needs to get rid of an old car and the other party has been desperately seeking for a cheap old car as a prop for a play. For example an old wooden rocking chair could be seen as a mere comfortable chair, as an antique or as a necessity because he already has another identical rocking chair and he wants it for his spouse. Hence, your wants and theirs are subjective.
A joint benefit does not mean that it is a shared benefit. What benefits me, may not have any corresponding benefits for you. Negotiation is not simply a distribution of a fixed amount between two parties. The bigger their share, the smaller yours is. It’s a zero-sum transaction. If they gain, you lose. Negotiating creates a joint gain. For example, in a one issue conflict, two parties are arguing who is cutting the pizza: “I cut it and you don’t” or “I get the bigger slice and you get the small one.” Wouldn’t be better to go like this? “If I choose the slice, you can cut it.”
Football players spend 90% of their time training and 10% playing. Formula 1 drivers spend 90% of their time training and only 10% racing for the Grand Prix. It’s no longer a secret that without preparation, there are no results.
Why are there still executives who feel that it’s not necessary to prepare properly when they have to negotiate? Maybe they believe that if they are well prepared they will not be able to cause a natural, crispy and spontaneous impression. This is true if we believe that being “natural” and “spontaneous” is a person who becomes entangled when he tries to find the right words when discussing issues with the other. Do not subject them to a test. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
An unprepared negotiator only reacts to the others moves, he doesn’t lead anything. You can tell because they say phrases like “let’s see where the other is at.” The adversaries clearly perceive that he does not know what he’s talking about; they gain confidence in themselves, increase their expectations and dare to ask for more. The prepared negotiator gains control over the whole process.
Inexperienced negotiators measure their success by how many times they score a hit on the other and regularly use sarcastic language. They use typical phrases such as “make me a serious offer” and impertinent remarks in the style of “we are supposedly here to negotiate.” They are the ones who think they are always right, and the other is wrong. Without preparation you will waste your time and theirs.
Rookies think that it is excessive to invest so much time in preparing a negotiation and they decide to put their ideas in order while negotiating. They have trust in those last minute brilliant inspirations, which always fail. It is hard enough to clarify our ideas in our desks, so how will you do it in front of the other party and in the heat of a negotiation? How will you achieve the desired positive effect? They should begin their negotiations by saying: “Today I´m going to waste your precious time because I am unprepared.”