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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

A Negotiation Is Like a Game, You Can’t Get the Best Deal Without a Strategy

A Negotiation Is Like a Game, You Can’t Get the Best Deal Without a Strategy

Have you ever been in a position where you had to negotiate something?

Perhaps you tried to get a better deal on something, perhaps tried to make two arguing friends see sense. In a negotiation situation it can be difficult to know what to do or say.

A negotiation is like a game, if you go in without having a playing strategy, or not knowing the rules, you’ll find succeeding far more difficult.

The trick is, to start off knowing what you’re going to do and what strategy to use.

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In negotiation, there are two useful strategies: Integrative Bargaining and Distributive Bargaining. Either of these should be great tools in your negotiation arsenal and are well worth getting to grips with.

Video Summary

Integrative bargaining: to find a resolution that benefits both parties equally

Integrative Bargaining is otherwise known as “win win bargaining” in it both parties in the negotiation try to find a resolution which benefits them both equally.[1] The needs, desires, and fears (which in many ways can cause the disagreement in the first case) are taken into account.

It is possible that both parties want different things and as such, both could be achievable.

For example, imagine two people were arguing over who gets to eat a slice of pizza.

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Now the obvious resolution to this is just cut the slice of pizza in half. However if the parties discussed what they wanted exactly, they could discover that one party liked to eat the pizza crust and was less interested in the rest of it, whereas the other wanted to eat the topping, but ignore the crust. In this way, through integrative bargaining, both parties could get exactly what they wanted.

Distributive bargaining: to negotiate how much each party gets

Distributive Bargaining is, as you might expect, a negotiation strategy employed when you have to distribute and divide something.[2]

  • Where integrative bargaining was a “win win” strategy, distributive bargaining is “win lose”.
  • Where integrative bargaining worked from collaboration, distributive bargaining is relatively self serving and competitive.
  • Both parties negotiate how much of something they gait.

Using the above pizza example, where integrative explores what each person hopes to gain from the the negotiation, distributive bargaining explores who gets what.

As such integrative bargaining can be the more diplomatic and fairer system of negotiation. However distributive bargaining can be effective (for you) if employed successfully.

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Employ these strategies in real life by asking yourself 3 questions

Key to using integrative bargaining, is knowing the answers to these three questions:[3]

What is my best alternative agreement? – This if the negotiations don’t seem to be going your way, what is something else you would agree with/ settle for.

What is most important to me? – Here, you should determine, in ranked order, exactly what you most want to keep in your negotiations, and what can be dropped. Dropping parts of your deal makes you more flexible and allows the a more satisfactory and mutually beneficial agreement to be found.

What is most important to the other party, and what might they settle with? – This can only be determined through careful questioning and careful analysis, but is well worth your time to find out. If you have a good idea of what the other party may settle for, then have a good direction to steer the negotiations.

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Knowledge and understanding of these three, crucial questions, can not only make your negotiations effective, but reach the best possible solution for both parties.

Know your bet: how much you are willing to lose in the negotiation

Distributive bargaining also relies on a degree of knowledge, you should know how much you are willing and happy to lose in negotiation, and keep that information quiet.[4] As distributive bargaining is naturally more self serving any information and strategy you have should be kept to yourself. You should also try to ascertain what the other party is willing to part with, and try to make that so.

Personally, I prefer integrative bargaining as a strategy. However if you enter a negotiation without any strategy, integrative, distributive or otherwise, then you will almost certainly lose out more severely than if you would with either strategy.

Reference

[1] Beyond Intractability: Integrative or Interest-Based Bargaining
[2] Conflict Research Consortium: Distributive Bargaining
[3] Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation: Use Integrative Negotiation Strategies to Create Value at the Bargaining Table
[4] Beyond Intractability: Distributive Bargaining

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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