3. Interests

Jeff Cochran


Your interests and theirs are the keys to getting past what seem like rock-hard positions. Interests are all about getting beyond what they say they want to what they might really want. In short, they are those things that you need the most, those things that mean the most to your side and, conversely, those that mean the most to the other side. Yours are not the same as theirs. But, if you know both, you may be able to satisfy most or all of your interest and still fulfill some of theirs (e.g. you want a low price. They need cash in a hurry.). Dollars may define positions (prices, salaries, etc.) and noncash value may define interests (setting quickly, service, experience, recognition).

The easiest way to picture negotiation with concern to interest is in marriage. It’s no secret that a lot of negotiating goes on in a marriage. These are seven of marital harmony that will help drill down the notion of interest:

1. Don’t think “me” think “we”.

2. Under every wet towel left on the bathroom floor is a real issue trying to get out.

3. Be prepared for the good times and the bad times. For the better and the worse.

4. Always listen up. Never talk down.

5. Ask him to walk a mile your high heels. Ask her to try it in your wing tips.

6. When angry, kiss.

7. Short term victories can lead to long term pain.

1. Precedents

Jeff Cochran


Knowing precedents gives you the power of the past. You can quote or cite, as well as learn from, those events that have already happened, thereby giving legitimacy and credence to your position. Knowing how similar transactions turned out in the past may also guide you in structuring this one. But don’t just focus on a single precedent, such as the one that supports you position. Be familiar with the precedents the other side might use.

Case and point: Cal Ripken’s 1992 contract negotiation. Our precedent was the highest paid player, the Orioles was the highest paid short stop in the game.