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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 February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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