Negotiation, by nature, is complex. It just is. You bump up against your own psychology (insecurities, desires) and experience level (pro, neophyte, anywhere in between). Meanwhile you have to contend with your counterpart’s psychology and experience level. Then there are cultural issues to consider… And, you’ve got to keep track of tangibles (money, goods, services) and non-tangibles (feeling satisfied that you’ve made the best deal). 

These aspects are present in the simplest negotiations between just two parties. 

How much more complexity is added with a third, fourth, fiftieth party?

A lot. 

Here at The Persuasion Lab, we believe that 

  • you can negotiate successfully exactly as you are, if you prepare well and leverage your strengths, and 
  • predictable and reliable negotiation success is possible, regardless of the complexity of the negotiation. 

This article (the first in a series of two) will address the latter point. 

By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to map relationships, minimize complexity, and stay nimble throughout the course of your negotiation. These basics provide a scaffolding on which to begin to structure the nuances of your most complex, multiparty negotiations. 

And while the blog, checklists, and tools are here to provide as much information and support as these things can, there’s no shame in admitting that this one’s just got you flummoxed. You’re staring down the barrel of the most complex negotiation, and don’t think you can get that positive outcome this time. You absolutely can. All you need to do is schedule a complimentary call with Martin Medeiros, Chief Negotiator at The Persuasion Lab. He can coach you through and create a bespoke negotiation plan of action designed for your success. 

Now, back to the task at hand. 

When we’re talking about complex multiparty negotiations, there are a few building blocks to keep in mind. These are, broadly speaking*: 

  • Primary party relations
  • Cooperative relations
  • Non-cooperative relations 
  • 3rd party relations 
  • Supporting primary party relations 

With that in mind, let’s sift through these in a way that simplifies your negotiation. 

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*Towards a Paradigm of Multiparty Negotiation, International Negotiation, September 2003. DOI: 10.1163/157180603322576112