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Your Weekly Walkaway - Nothing is Agreed Until Everything is Agreed
The Weekly Walkway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 20 (10th February 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - "Count not thy Chickens that haven’t hatched, be wise words, till thou find certainty."
Tactic of the Week - Just One More Thing
Thought of the Week - Nothing is Agreed Until Everything is Agreed
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Count not thy Chickens that haven’t hatched, be wise words till thou find certainty."
Thomas Howell - 1570
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
Just One More Thing
You’re tired. It’s been a long and draining negotiation. You want to go home and see the family, and you can feel it; you’re nearly there.
The final summaries and then… they ask for “just one more thing”.
You think… Just one more! Are you kidding? That’s not on the ‘Agenda’. What the hell?
And then you think… Ah, go on, have it; let's just get this deal done!
NO! It’s a tactic. It is a technique in which they add one more item to the list at the last minute, hoping to secure additional concessions. This tactic can be used to carry the final momentum nearing the end of a negotiation as you may feel that you have come too far to turn back and therefore agree to the additional request.
It is often used by buyers against sellers who are focused on their personal targets rather than the total value of the deal.
Also used when the most senior negotiator, the one who can say yes, ‘The Queen’, enters the room as a top-to-top. It’s all about manipulating all that authority and ego. You just don’t want to lose that deal, do ya?
And if you’re new in the relationship and they ‘shake your tree’! See what falls out!
Be careful of those final concessions. ‘They’ will look to take advantage of the momentum to secure one final win.
Keep everything linked. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Say, “Oh, is that important to you?” and then “Ah, OK, we had not planned for it, so let us take it away and come back to you with a proposal”. Either you will trade the appropriate value for it, or they will withdraw it.
Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Nothing is Agreed Until Everything is Agreed
The phrase "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" is negotiator speak, their common language, that refers to the idea that a final agreement between parties cannot be reached until all the key variables, terms and conditions have been agreed upon…
In other words, no individual variable, term, or condition should be considered binding until the entire agreement has been fully agreed upon.
C’mon. How many times have I had to tell you? Negotiation is a dynamic, living, hungry beast. There is a process to follow, where variables move, bend and flex as the parties discuss and seek to reach an agreement on the various issues that feed the beast.
For example, you may be willing to agree to one variable, but only if another variable is altered in a certain way, obviously in your favour. The two variables, and the value locked up inside them, have now become conditional on each other.
This results in a situation where one variable cannot be agreed upon until other variables have been agreed upon, creating a "domino effect" where nothing is final until everything is final. The Principle of ‘Nothing is Agreed Until Everything is Agreed’.
Negotiations are not a linear process. They are, at times, illogical and irrational.
You need to be prepared to use adaptive techniques and revisit and even potentially re-negotiate variables and their conditions as the negotiation ebbs and flows.
By using ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, you establish professionalism and respect. It sets the tone for the negotiations and lets your counterpart know that you are not willing to accept partial agreements or make concessions without getting something of value in return. The phrase ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ is a reminder that all the elements of the agreement are interdependent and that there is a clear understanding of the obligations and responsibilities of each party. Commitment will be required.
Protects you from any surprises
‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ helps to establish trust. By making it clear that you are willing to act in good faith and that you are committed to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. This can help to build a more collaborative and positive negotiating environment, which can lead to better-negotiated outcomes…
But… ‘they’ may try to gain an advantage. They may use tactics like;
The Salami Slicer;
or the “just one more thing”.
By using the phrase ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, you can make it clear that you are not going to be moved by these tactics and that you are not willing to make any concessions until you know “what’s in it for me?”.
@Kahvay, we highlight the importance that even if you and your counterpart have reached an understanding on one or more aspects of the negotiation, nothing is officially agreed upon until all variables have been fully negotiated. It ensures all variables and issues are linked, and therefore all the value available is also linked.
This protects you from any surprises, their greed or last-minute changes that your counterpart may try to sneak in that may erode trust and your value or even turn a warm cooperative negotiation into a cold hard haggle.
It empowers you and helps to keep you calm, confident, and assertive whilst creating a more balanced negotiation process
We often talk about the need to ‘control our ‘Lucy’. Simply put, it’s about remaining calm, confident, and assertive. To control your emotions is to control your Lucy and therefore control your behaviours. And it is equally important to control them, your counterpart.
We know this can be challenging, especially if the other party is trying to bully, intimidate, or manipulate you.
However, by using the phrase "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", you can signal to your counterpart;
I am aware of my rights as a negotiator. Negotiation is not a one-way street;
I will not be influenced by your tactics. I am powerful. I will not be pushed around;
I have what you need, and you can’t have it unless you give me what I want.
OK, so it is important to note that overuse of this magical phrase can come across as confrontational, so it is essential to find the right balance and use the phrase to manage expectations rather than as a weapon.
The principle of "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" reduces the risk of them using their power or your perception of their power to dominate the negotiation.
It emphasises the dynamic nature of the negotiation process and the importance of being flexible and open-minded.
It serves as a reminder that negotiations are not a linear process and that variables, terms and conditions may change as you discuss and seek to reach an agreement.
It signals to your counterpart that you are well aware of your rights and that you are not willing to be pressured or influenced by their tactics.
And it can be used to establish trust and help avoid misunderstandings, and if used effectively, it leads to better-negotiated outcomes.
We’d love to read your comments or thoughts. What do you think?
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