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OSTON-Focus on process and not substance in negotiations and all parties should walk away from the table better, according to Collaborative Thinking President Michael Chaffers. It is rare that parties to negotiations sit down and think about how to talk with the other party, yet “It’s one of the most important things you can focus on,” he said. How much value you create from your negotiations is much more important that how often you do it, Chaffers said. He reminded his audience at NAFCU’s Annual Conference, “You don’t want to leave you principles at the door.” Parties can go into negotiations with a debilitating or empowering attitude. Debilitating assumptions include assuming the negotiation is a zero-sum game, your interests are opposed, the stronger party wins, and the need to compromise between conflicting positions. Under this strategy, Chaffers said, “As the negotiations get tougher, you’ll do worse.” However, from the empowering point of view, the parties assume that value can be created, partnership opportunities exist, and explicit communication is essential. Chaffers offered the Seven Element Framework for negotiating: *Interests- the needs that the parties want to satisfy *Alternatives- the walk-away possibilities if an agreement is not reached *Options- all potential ideas to which the parties might agree *Commitments- statements about what the party will do *Communication- level of mutual understanding and efficiency of the negotiation process *Legitimacy- parties’ interest in the perceived justification, or fairness of, an agreement *Relationship- parties’ interest in how well they treat each other [email protected]

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