Truthful or deceptive

Since the beginning of my studies in negotiations, I have decided to choose a certain path: principled negotiations.

I have been focusing as much as possible on intelligent and long term concepts like
refusing the use of power, trickery and manipulative tactics,
reciprocal communications.

The main goal is to restore or to build civilized behavior.
Not because I was naïve, but because this is my nature, culture and my belief.
I had access to a great deal of online lectures, to some brilliant win-win negotiation articles and on top of this, ‘principled negotiations’ are the Harvard University and PON (their specific program on Negotiation) trademarks. Even Karass, the worldwide reference for negotiations seminars, is recognizing that smart and clean negotiations are using an integrative approach or a win-win approach.

But we are all very different; some of us like to play games and trickeries and to keep the negotiations at a small and narrow level.
But without being judgmental, I would say -like I wrote in my previous articles- that keeping the win-lose approach is totally appropriate in many cases, such as selling your car, selling your bad husband/wife (humor), making one-shot deals, haggling at the market etc.

Some years ago, I was working in a French firm selling high added-value aesthetic medical equipment for GPs. Each equipment represented an investment of 80,000 euros. This equipment had to be sold in 2 appointments maximum, without being totally aware of the return-on-investment and the profitability figures predicted to the prospect. It seems that in some cases, the win-lose approach was presented as a win-win deal. It is somehow normal; sometimes the interests of the company and of the company staff are prevailing on the morality and the integrity. Business is not always proper and this is the essence of capitalism, patriarchal and perhaps a bit old-fashioned.
Some will make a great deal of money with the investment, some won’t, some will reach the break-even point faster than others, etc.

Just ask yourself if you’ll see the person more than once and if you’ll be satisfied to be truthful or just a bit deceptive, make a deal with your own consciousness.

I would like to add that it is truly healthy to be aware of manipulative tactics and strategies, because this is probably how negotiation history has begun …
But for high stakes, modern deals and if I dare say for modern business people and long-term partnerships, the integrative approach will prevail, even if both sides will not always be totally equally satisfied. The integrative or win-win approach will tend to respect both parties and create a non-traumatic agreement.

As a conclusion, I would say that it is always better to respect both main ways of negotiating and to use them adequately knowing what you do and what you want.

Veronika Beaussant
I.N.A (Integrative Negotiation Approach)

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