Silvia Nadal Partner and Consultant of Gestión del Cambio Empresarial

I think most of you will agree that, participation in some negotiations can be frustrating when the meeting goes off in other directions and is diluted, and the objective or objectives to be addressed even disappear. You will probably also agree that the larger the number of participants, the less likely it is that the meeting will be conducted effectively.

All professionals in general, we are able to organize an agenda and mark the points to be discussed before the negotiation meeting but what is much more difficult to achieve is to reach an agreement on what should be discussed during the negotiation because the opposite party is able to bring the negotiation to their interests and issues to be discussed and negotiated.

Most often, the meeting begins with a greeting from the members and then one of them lists the points to be discussed.

What is already more difficult to see is that one of the parties begins by establishing “a framework” in advance favourable to their interests, leading to discuss and negotiate everything that is in their interest.

Some examples for framing:

“We are meeting to explore our common points with the aim of reaching an agreement at the end of the meeting on

“Today’s meeting aims to discuss the following points…”

“The purpose of this meeting is to ask you some questions about…”

“We are meeting today to give you our background and credentials”

In the first example, the objective is delimited and leads the other party to conclude an agreement. In the other cases, the approach is weaker and will not be helpful if you want to close the deal, it could be helpful if you are not prepared at that time and would like to get more information or buy time.

It is important to know that in a negotiation, the party that defines the rules of the game is the party that delimits the scope of the meeting, and we call that delimitation the framework of the negotiation.

We must bear in mind that if we do not provide the framework, the other party will do so and will therefore be establishing its rules of the game, and will be taking the negotiation towards its interests, which do not necessarily coincide with ours.

It is in our interest to carry out the negotiation within our limits and we have to be skilful in keeping the meeting within that framework and every time it deviates, we will be able to redirect it, so that we can have control of the situation.

It is interesting to know that the frameworks of negotiation, when they are presented in terms of losses are more shocking than expressing them in terms of gains: so, for example, in a situation of a company with 500 workers, of which 250 are going to be fired, it is much more shocking to say that the objective of the negotiation is to fire 250 workers out of a total of 500, than to start by saying that thanks to the agreement we will reach we will save 250 jobs out of a total of 500.

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