Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Freeplay 2012 - Negotiation Strategies


The Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2012 could not have happened without the hard work of all its organisers, sponsors and volunteers, they deserve many thanks. All work and words are copyrighted their respective owners and effort has been made to accurately record every speaker and the content presented. These notes are not from any official channel associated with Freeplay and are for the purposes of providing information.

All notes are available in full via: Dropbox (PDF Download). The PDF will be updated in the next few weeks so check back if you need updates.

Vanessa Toholka

The negotiation strategies are based on the system learned by Harvard lawyers.

Negotiation usually falls between:

Positional Bargaining
                - Is actually haggling
                - Not a model for professional bargaining

Soft vs. Hard Negations
                - Soft, both parties act as friends and use concessions to reach agreement
                - Hard, both parties use threats and victory conditions to form relationships

If you are stuck in a situation where these kinds of negotiations happen, change the game
                Negotiate on the merits of working together

The solution is principled negotiation

Principled Negotiation
                - People
                - Interests
                - Options
                - Criteria

- Separate people from the problem
- Remove emotions from objective issues
- Substance under negotiations and relationship
- Empathy and respect
- Open communication
- Proposals consistent with other parties' values
- Walk other party through ladder of anger
                - Be an active listener
                - Be clear
                - Focus on the problems

Focus on interests, not positions
                - E.g.  who has more power to wield
Be open
                - Ask what their game plan is
Get offer off the table
                - Try to expand view
                - Show concern
                - Look ahead (future prospects)
                - Promote (mutual) interests

- Invent options for multiple interests and gain
- Best outcome is when more interests are aligned
- Be clear about what is acceptable for your stakeholders

- Insist on using objective criteria
                - Agree to measure objectively
                - Helps to form better decisions
                - Is more efficient
                - Mutually beneficial
- Objective criteria are based on fair standards and procedures
- Fair standards - market standards, industry and legal precedents, scientific judgement, professional standards
- Fair procedures - not quantifiable, like flipping a coin to choose who goes first, taking turns
- Criteria is independent of each parties' will

- Frame as joint service to both sides

Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)
- The next best options to go with if you don't get what you want from the negotiation
                - E.g.  You can work under these conditions if the ideal doesn't eventuate
- Used to determine alternatives before meeting
                - not to be shown to the other parties
- Working your BATNA increases your power to negotiate
- Figure out how easy it is for the other parties to walk away from any deal made with you

- Protect yourself from bad and hasty decisions
- Protect yourself from being too flexible or inflexible
- Consider mediation or alternatives
- Focus on what the other party might do
- Identify commonalities
- Maybe give the other side a win?

- Avoid being attacked
Don't defend your ideas
                - Invite criticism and advice
- Reframe personal attacks to attack the problem
- Ask questions, don't use statements
- Silence can be powerful
- Articulate why working together is beneficial for all before making offers

What if they don't negotiate fairly?
- Deliberate deception
- Check their facts and assertions
- Don't accept things based on face value

Unclear authority
- Ask how much authority the people you are dealing with have
- "Can you make a binding decision?"

Questionable Intentions
- Make doubts clear to the other party
- Negotiate assurances

Purposeful stressful situations
- You are an equal
- Call attention to personal attacks and threats
- Watch out for good cop and bad cop
                - Take bad cop's threats, positions and statements and ask good cop "why"

Stages of negotiation

- Know what is happening
- Set goals
- Write plans
- Know who has the power to sign and make deals
- Checklist
- What are your expectations, try to predict what expectations the other party may have
- Create realistic and defendable goals
- Prioritise
- What are your optimal goals?
- Figure out the context of your project, the conditions of the market
- What are the interests of the stakeholders?
- What are your interests?
- Strategise for blockers
- Research other parties' experience
- Work out Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) for both parties
- Work out the items that can be negotiated
                - What do we want and have
                - What does the other party want and have?
- Concession plan

- Sets tone for the meeting
- Develop script
                - Goals
                - Principles
                - Agenda
                - Framework
                - Identify out of scope items
                - Gain agreement for agenda

- About uncovering interests, requests and proposals
- Ask open ended questions
- Look for short and long term priorities
- Identify deal breaker
- Appeal to mutual agreement on successful previous agreements

- Wrap things together
- Save up concession
- Be flexible
- If then statements
- Move on to the next point
                - When you come to an agreement, don't concentrate on it and move onto next problem

- Dispute resolution
- Beware attacks
- Keep relations cordial
- Decide on privacy agreements
- Call on other things that change agreement
- Agree on cooling off period
- End with confidence

Strategic gaming
- Analysis of game theory and decision analysis
- Psychology of fairness
- Prisoner's dilemma

Dealing with on the spot negotiations
- Be wary as you may be exploited
- Attempt to delay decisions
                - Can ask for more time to make decisions
- Distract and discover other person's interests
- Avoid risk
- Enter all negotiations with positive and co-operative attitudes

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton
Ripe for Resolution by I. William Zartman

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