In most truly effective negotiations, no one should come out a “winner” or a “loser.”
That’s according to Amy Trask, CBS Sports analyst and author of “You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football League.” The former NFL exec argues that the best negotiations feel a lot more like collaborations.
“People in business say, ‘Let’s sit across the table from one another and negotiate,'” she told Business Insider. “I don’t believe that sitting across the table and negotiating is as effective as sitting side-by-side and collaborating.”
Trask worked for the Oakland Raiders for nearly 30 years, starting out as an intern to eventually become CEO of the team, and the NFL’s first female front-office exec.
Throughout her career, she’s honed her own style of deal-making. Trask asserts that negotiations are rarely zero sum games — and that it’s a huge mistake to treat them as such. It’s also a major tactical error to focus more on one-upping the other party than achieving the desired outcome.
“I’m going to focus on the deal itself,” Trask says. “Not the process, not the quid pro quo. It doesn’t make sense to me to expend one’s energy worrying about gamesmanship.”
So, how do you pull off a truly successful negotiation? Trask says to start off by identifying the points that matter most to each party.
“If there’s something that’s important to you in a negotiation that just isn’t as important to me, then I’ll concede the point,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. It doesn’t have to be a quid pro quo.”
In Trask’s experience, putting all your cards on the table in a negotiation doesn’t put you at a disadvantage. In fact, oftentimes, it leads the other party to become more amenable and concede points that are more important to you.
“If the goal in a negotiation is to arrive at a deal, then find a way to get the deal done,” Trask says.
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