Creativity in Negotiations Means Thinking Differently

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Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random.
— Ken Robinson

As negotiations become ever more complex, it is necessary to find more creative solutions to make sure both parties gain value. To be creative in a negotiation you need to think differently, using your imagination to find original ideas. Here are three ways you can open your mind to be creative:

1. Take a break

Time away from the problem will allow your subconscious to mull over everything you have learned so far and search for a solution. If possible go for a walk, as the physical exercise enhances creativity, especially when you are seeking a solution. David DiSalvo identifies six reasons why walking is good for the brain in his Forbes article

Trying to solve a problem in a pressurised situation can be difficult. A small break can provide both sides with the space they need to reorganise their thoughts and reenter the negotiation refreshed and more creative. 

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
— Friedrich Neitzsche

2. Find a new perspective

If you can't find a solution, try looking at the problem in a different way. Take a different perspective by framing the problem - reword it and see if you have any new solutions. There is another blog that looks at different re-framing techniques. Seeing the problem in a different way helps you consider different solutions that your existing mindset can't see. Change the parameters of the problem by solving a bigger problem or solving a smaller problem, or changing the timescale - solve the problem in a month or solve the problem in two years.

A new perspective can provide you with fresh insights.

3. Ask questions

To find different solutions, try asking more probing questions. Find out the reasons the problem is so important? What are the real interests of the other side? Finding out these details can create some different solutions that aren't obvious from just stating the problem. By asking open questions and taking a real interest in the answers, you will motivate the other side to respond carefully and thoroughly. This Harvard Program on Negotiation daily blog shows the power of careful questioning. 

To be jointly creative in a negotiation both sides must have trust. Trust means both parties respect each other's views and actively listen to what each other is saying. For more ideas on using creativity in negotiations to provide a competitive edge read our eBook: Creativity in B2B Negotiations.