THE TOOLS YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR

Last blog we asked if you were afraid to negotiate. Hopefully we convinced you that life would be easier as an attorney if you added negotiation to your skills.

So this week, let me give you a few ways of looking at negotiation that might be helpful.

  • Always negotiate from strength. That means you have to do your homework so you have identified what benefit the other party has for negotiating with you.  This doesn’t mean that you walk in and lay all your cards on the table.
  • Evaluate worse loss you can have by not settling.  This frequently gives you some way of shaping expectations with the person whom you are negotiating for as well as setting a boundary for your worse case.
  • Evaluate best deal you can make.  Here is getting everything you want.  Make it reasonable. Don’t set a million dollar threshold when you only have $1,500 in damages.
  • Identify the type of negotiator(s) who might be on the other side (if you can).  Are you expecting a great deal of aggression? passive hostility? or something else?
  • Decide what might be your best strategy with the types of negotiator(s) you will be dealing with.
  • Thoroughly brief your client (or person who you are negotiating for) prior to the actual negotiation session. Make sure the expectations are realistic.  Explain what their “job” is in the negotiation.
  • If possible, have a conversation with the person (people) on the other side prior to the actual negotiation. You don’t need to discuss the actual negotiation but you can find out a lot by touching base about who will attend, anticipated time to spend and such things. This will give a feeling about what kind of people you will be dealing with.
  • Be sure to build up your confidence meter before the actual negotiation.  You want to convey  quiet confidence in your view, but not with threats or bullying.  You want to settle but not give away the farm and that can be conveyed with how you phrase your demands and receive the offers.

SO HERE’S SOME REALLY GOOD TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED.  WE DON’T USUALLY GET EVERYTHING WE WANT IN NEGOTIATION, BUT WE USUALLY GET MORE THAN WE WOULD HAVE, HAD WE NOT NEGOTIATED. AND IT’S  A WHOLE LOT LESS STRESS!

ARE YOU AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE?

DID YOU COME OUT OF LAW SCHOOL DETERMINED TO GET RESULTS AND TO WIN AT ALL COSTS?

 

WERE YOU WILLING TO GET THOSE RESULTS EVEN IF IT REQUIRED INTIMIDATION, BULLYING AND THREATS?

DID YOU THINK THIS WAS THE WAY LAWYERS WERE SUPPOSED TO ACT?

AT SOME POINT DID YOU JUST GET DISGUSTED WITH YOURSELF?

This is where I find many lawyers ending up today in my coaching office.  As attorneys we had to fight to get into law school, compete with others to get good grades and on law review, and finally fight to pass the Bar.

Then we end up fighting to get a job and pay our ridiculous student loans back.  We finally end up at our desk one day fighting to find an error that our “adversary” overlooked and that we can ram down his/her throat.  This is not a nice way to live and grow in our quest to help people in the legal system.

Many lawyers are actually afraid to learn and use negotiation techniques. They are afraid they will look:

  • weak
  • not effective
  • scared
  • willing to settle for a small amount
  • lose their perceived superior position
  • not aggressive
  • not being a good adversary

These fears are causing attorneys to turn to alcohol, drugs, and all sorts of other techniques to self medicate themselves out of their awareness of what they are doing to themselves. Also  they need to convince themselves they are not lonely and isolated in being angry, aggressive and pig-headed.

BUT THERE IS A SOLUTION!

If lawyers begin to perceive adversaries differently, a paradox shift can happen.  Lawyer can:

  • begin to see the other side as partners in solutions.
  • to acknowledge that the adversary is a human being with all the complexity that humans have to deal with.
  • that a win-win result may be the best solution for your client.
  • that employing negotiations skills when appropriate is stress reducing.
  • that a skilled negotiator is made and not born.
  • that learning negotiation techniques broader an attorneys ability to serve each situation uniquely.

NOW THAT I’VE CONVINCED YOU TO LEARN A FEW NEW NEGOTIATION TECHNIQUES, STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK’S BLOG!