When I mediate
conflicts, I listen to gain an understanding of what each party wants and what each party needs.
It is important, in negotiation, to understand the difference between “wants” and “needs.”
Wants are the positions you’ve openly stated as your goals in the mediation. Examples of a want is the demand for an amount of money, the right to continue to live in the marital residence, or the right to claim all children on your tax returns.
Needs, on the other hand, are your underlying interests, such as emotional and economic security, respect, to be heard, to avoid years battling with your spouse, or to maintain a relationship post-divorce so that you can effectively co-parent your children.. People’s needs are
often different from, and easier to accommodate, than their wants.
While you are participating in a mediation, do what the mediator is doing and listen to the other party’s opening statement and try to differentiate between their stated wants and their underlying needs. For example, your spouse may insist on full legal custody of your children. This want reflects a need to insure the children’s health and safety. If you and your partner can agree on the particular substantive issues regarding children’s education, health, and well-being, your partner will gain the commitment from you to meet needs for the children’s health and safety without the want of sole legal custody. You both than have the opportunity to exercise the right to legal custody.
When you can listen past the other side’s demands for what they “want” and focus on their underlying “needs,” you open your mind to the exercise of thinking of alternatives which will help to meet both parties’ needs and expand opportunites for coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.
I opened my email today and was delighted to see that Alex Mehr, PhD of MentorBox
was addressing the issue of negotiation in his latest correspondence. He described the DEALS method that Natalie Reynolds writes about in her book We Have a Deal.
Deals is an acronym that summarizes the different, essential stages in the negotiation process.
Discover all of the possible angles and outcomes that exist in this possible deal.
Establish which issues are priorities for each party.
Ask for an exaggerated version of what works for you.
Lead the negotiation, your team members, the environment and yourself through the negotiation.
Seal the deal while ensuring that you have given yourself room to review and exit in case of non-delivery.
When you and the other side come to an immediate point of conflict, realize that turn as an invitation to think more broadly on that
particular point. Mehr encourages questioning why the other side seeks to influence you and look for what other points have changed as a result.
A successful negotiation
will have positive benefits for your personal and professional life, while mistakes in negotiation can have as much impact, but in a negative manner, on all areas of your life.