A win-win negotiation is a careful exploration of both your own position, and that of your opposite number, in order to find a mutually acceptable outcome that gives you both as much of what you want as possible. If you both walk away happy with what you’ve gained from the deal, then that’s a win-win!
In an ideal win-win situation, you will find that the other person wants what you are prepared to trade, and that you are prepared to give what he or she wants. If this is not the case, and one of you must give way, then it is fair to negotiate some form of compensation for doing so. But both sides should still feel comfortable with the outcome.
Win-win negotiation can enable both parties in a discussion to feel that they have made a satisfactory deal, and that neither is the “loser.”
It’s particularly useful when you have an ongoing relationship with the other party, and you wish to remain on good terms.
“Principled negotiation” is a common win-win strategy, devised by Roger Fisher and William Ury that can help you to negotiate an agreement in a civil way. The technique consists of five stages, or principles:
- Separate the people from the problem.
- Focus on interests, not positions.
- Invent options for mutual gain.
- Use objective criteria.
- Know your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.