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This week's Wiki-Wednesday topic is: NEGOTIATION - particularly the section on how to generate more ideas.  As we mentioned in our notes on the Huthwaite group white paper earlier this week, skilled negotiators consider far more outcomes when preparing for a negotiation. But where do those alternatives come from?  Hopefully this list will help you get started**. The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on this topic. Click here to be connected to the full page. 


10 Ways to Generate More Ideas [9]

  1. Establish common goals of what this "collaboration" would create. A more workable deal? Some common long term goals? A closer partnership?
  2. Establish the rules of engagement. The purpose of the exercise is to resolve differences in creative ways that work better for both parties. All ideas are possibilities, and research shows that combining ideas from different cultures can result in better outcomes than those from a single culture.
  3. Trust is key, and difficult to establish in many cultures. Certain techniques might speed that process a little. Being offsite, for example. Establishing physical proximity that unconsciously signals intimacy.
  4. Add diversity (gender, culture, extroverts, different work specialties, experts, outsiders) to the group. Indeed, the diversity associated with international teams and alliances is the real goldmine of creativity in negotiations.
  5. Use storytelling. This both helps establish who you are and what point of view you are bringing to this collaboration.
  6. Work in small groups. Add physical movement. Tell the participants to relax, play, sing, have fun, and silence is ok.
  7. Work holistically and using visuals. If, for example, there are three sticking points where neither side is happy, agree to work on those points by spending a short time – 10 minutes – on each point where both sides offer "crazy" suggestions. Use techniques of improvisation. Neither side should be offended by the crazy ideas. No one should criticize. Explain that by exploring crazy ideas that better ideas are often generated.
  8. Sleep on it. This enables the unconscious to work on the problems, and gives negotiators time to collect opinions before meeting again the next day. Other kinds of breaks, coffee, etc. are also helpful. The overnight part is particularly important. Anthropologist and consumer expert Clotaire Rapaille [10] suggests that the transitions between wakefulness and sleep allow new kinds of thinking “…calming their brainwaves, getting them to that tranquil point just before sleep” (page 8).
  9. Doing this process over several sessions allows both sides to feel that progress is being made, and actually generates better and more polished ideas that both sides can invest in.
  10. It is the process of creating something together, rather than the specific proposals, which creates bonding around a shared task and establishes new ways of working together. Each side feels honored and all can feel that something is being accomplished.
** The list is excerpted from Global Negotiation: The New Rules, by William Hernandez Requejo and John L. Graham (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).