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I am not good negotiatior, I can perform badly at conversations depending of the quality of rest in the previous night (it can be poor after workouts or after some exciting events or reading) and some other factors. I usually have not enough time to find the right answers, solutions, thoughts during negotiations. I do some heavy thinking (sometimes for days) after such negotiations and almost always I come up with better wording, ideas, solutions that I had to say and to propose during such (frequently failed) negotiations. I have resolved to send email with my afterthoughts, roundups and adjustments afterwards sometimes. I have not received answers but sometimes I feel that it could have corrected, improved the ongoing interaction.

Of course, I know that improving my quality of life, fitness and concentration should be done, but what are the general guidelines - is it customary to do such roundups and adjustments in email afterward? I am thinking about ongoing processes negotiations and not about correcting the closed deals (that can not be changed in such a way, of course).

The latest event when I have experiences such situation is during admission process to the political party when I had interview with the member of governing board. But I have experienced such situations in my school, my job and even relationships.

Maybe there are some other guidelines how to use such roundup emails as communication improvement and correction vehicles?

My question is not duplicate of Send “thank you” email after phone interview? which is about simple thank-you-email. My question is about communication and negotiation practices.

  • What kind of negotiations are we talking about? Are they adversarial, such as in a legal case? Is there goodwill//trust? Do you want to preserve goodwill, because you'll be dealing with these people in the future (your employer?)? – ObscureOwl Nov 30 '19 at 16:20
  • Yes, benevolent, cooperative, collaborative negotiations. – TomR Nov 30 '19 at 17:13
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    I think you are working the wrong problem. What's done is done and typically difficult to change or adjust. Maybe you should do your heavy thinking BEFORE the negotiation and try to get better at getting the right result in the first place. In many cases it's perfectly acceptable to ask for some time to prepare or "think it over" – Hilmar Nov 30 '19 at 21:39
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You should be careful with email when negotiating anything contractual. An email can be just as binding as a signed contract. Sending a "thank you" note expressing your appreciation for the counterparty's time and consideration is certainly appropriate, but be careful not to include any details of what was negotiated.


As an aside, here are a few things to consider that might help you improve your negotiation and communication skills:

  1. It's okay to delay if you're unprepared. Take the time to enter a conversation feeling well prepared. Request a delay if you are not prepared. Be honest with the counterparty and let them know that you'd like more time to gather the relevant facts.
  2. Rehearse with a colleague. Ask a colleague to play the counterparty and hold a mock negotiation before the real negotiation. Work through the whole conversation (introductions, a little chin wagging, initial offer, etc.). No "do overs," treat the rehearsal as the real thing to give yourself a chance to practice dealing with missteps.
  3. Act on one improvement at a time. It sounds like you have many ideas about things you would like to do differently in negotiations. Instead of trying to correct everything at once, work on one issue/improvement at a time.

Good luck with your future negotiations!

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We all need to negotiate now and then in our life, and not all of us (probably, most of us) don't do well when put on the spot.

Some preparation strategies that may help:

  • Prepare for questions Try to anticipate what the other party will say or ask, and what your answer should be.
  • Decide beforehand what you want, and what would be minimally acceptable What do you want to get out of the negotiation? You can't anticipate everything, but you should have a list of topics on which you want certain outcomes. For example, when doing a job contract negotiation, you could decide that you want a salary of at least $X and at least Y days PTO. If you have to negotiate with a supplier, you should know before the meeting how much you want to buy, at what maximum price, and when it needs to be delivered. You'd like to get a lower price of course.
  • Consider what your counterpart wants In a job contract negotiation, they want to hire you, at a reasonable rate, and with you happy enough to be a good worker. Most people you negotiate with want more than one single thing. If you're going to buy something from a company, they want your money, but they also don't want a lot of hassle with customer service, and it would be nice if you became a repeat customer. Also if you recommended them to other people or left a good review.

    Note that your counterpart isn't always entirely of the different and somewhat conflicting things they want. If they're giving you a hard time on one aspect, you can bring up how it advances them in another way (that doesn't cost you). For example, if the supplier is not offering a lot of service, you can point out that the quality of service you get now will make a difference when you have to decide where to buy again next year.

  • Figure out what leverage you have Do you have a rare and needed specialty? A good reputation in the local community? Contacts that can give you a recommendation? The law on your side?

    You don't have to play hardball with this, but knowing what your leverage is will help determine what you can ask and push for.

  • What's your best alternative to a negotiated agreement? More detail here A "BATNA" tells you when you should be willing to walk way if you can't get a good deal. It helps you to prevent getting pushed around.

If you have a solid preparation, you should be more relaxed during negotiation. However, it's still a conversation and you may run into stuff you didn't prepare for. Maybe they come up with a different deal that you hadn't considered. Or they bring up a legal problem that needs research.

  • Don't make on the spot promises. If you don't know whether you can commit to something, don't.
  • If you're not sure of the value of an offer, don't accept it yet. Request time to think it over and evaluate it.
  • Remember your BATNA. If you get pushed to accept something right now, don't. Because you know your BATNA, you can't be pushed around all that much.
  • Try to observe how you're being treated. Are they trying to intimidate you? Bully you? Ambush you? Even if you know someone is putting in effort to intimidate you, it can be scary, but it's not quite as scary. Usually when people try those things, it's because they need you to agree. Reconsider your leverage.
  • When in doubt, say "I'll get back to you on that". For anything serious, in a bona fide negotiation, that should be acceptable. If they're not willing to give you that time, then this is a hostile negotiation.

So in conclusion: be prepared, but count on something unforeseen happening. If you said during the meeting "I need to think that over, I'll get back to you on that", then if you do so, it's fine.

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