The Five Basic Steps

Negotiating is like a ritual that generally proceeds through an ordered set of steps:

  1. Getting to know each other

  2. Beginning negotiations

  3. Expressing disagreement and conflict

  4. Reassessing and compromising

  5. Reaching agreement

In reality, negotiations rarely follow a neat, linear progression. For instance, “getting to know each other” is not confined to the beginning of the process; the savvy negotiator continues to learn more about the other side until the very end. Likewise, disagreement and conflict are liable to occur at any time. Nevertheless, learning the five steps is a useful way for novices to familiarize themselves with the entire process.

Step 1: Getting to Know Each Other

Although there’s a temptation to jump right into ...

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