The influence of individual personal experience, trust and distrust in negotiating cannot be underestimated. The influence of personal experience, trust and distrust can overwhelm a negotiating style that requires parties to be logical or arrange a win-win solution for all sides.
Personal experience in negotiating for an individual is like practice in any other field, improving their skill. Personal experience in negotiating a type of negotiation, such as for a specific industry, can speed up negotiations as they already know the types of questions to ask to cover all bases and contingencies. Personal experience can make the two sides familiar with each other. An influencer will recognize that the other party is a goal oriented person and adjust their negotiating style accordingly. Positive personal experiences build trust. Negative personal experiences with the other side engender distrust that a new negotiator must overcome.
Trust makes collaborative negotiations a natural solution to the negotiated problem or contract. Trust can simplify negotiations by reducing the number of good faith actions each side must make. However, trust can also enable kickbacks and bribery with unethical individuals. Lack of trust will hamper negotiations, lengthening negotiations as contracts are written to add enforcement clauses not necessary when parties trust each other. However, lack of trust is not the same as distrust. When there is a lack of trust, trust can be gained through good faith negotiation practices and delivering according to contract. Distrust is a greater obstacle and far more difficult to overcome.
Distrust occurs when the other side has had very negative experiences with the negotiator’s firm, has been betrayed in prior negotiations or was deceived previously. Distrust can make any negotiation deteriorate into abrasive negotiations. Distrust increases negotiation time as each side seeks multiple reviews of the contract. Negotiating contracts can become more complex as non-disclosure and penalty clauses are built in, adding legal weight to the contract to ensure the other side does what is promised in the contract.
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