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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Creating a Needs/Objectives Matrix

One way to look at these needs involves a Needs/Objectives Matrix[1] that helps to separate the business from the personal needs in the negotiation (Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1. Needs/Objectives Matrix

To create a matrix, list as many needs as you can think of for your side. Then list what you think the needs of the other side will be. Next, circle those that are most critical for you. Then, do the same for the other side.

Some negotiators have a hard time distinguishing between business and personal needs. To test which need is involved, ask this question: If I substitute another person in the negotiation, will the need still exist? If the answer is yes, it’s a business (substantive) need rather than a personal need. Skillful negotiators will focus on both types of objectives and ask a series of questions to uncover these needs. Inexperienced negotiators will focus only on the business need and fail to engage the personal need in the negotiation.

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