There are around seven recognised phases of negotiation, these are
- Planning and fact-finding phase
- Opening phase
- Discussion phase
- Proposal phase
- Bargaining phase
- Closing phase
- After Decision phase
(1) Planning and fact-finding phase: This initial phase includes finding of facts and information related to the other party and fact. It involves identification of matters and issues that could be raised during the process of negotiation. The issues and matters that are recognised shall be prioritized for both the parties. This process also helps in estimation of other side’s priorities. The needs of the other side should be contemplated upon. The space and zone for an agreement that is possible must be established like , The agreement that is wanted by both the parties in favourable circumstances, the agreement that could be acceptable to both the parties or maybe a point from where no longer negotiation shall be continued.
(2) Opening phase: An opportunity is provided in this phase to give a direction to the process of discussion which helps in gaining control over the discussion.
In this phase, simple language should be used and the questions asked by the parties must be answered carefully. Some important points to be remembered by the negotiator at this point are:
(a) Use polite language and take questions from the parties and answer them gently.
(b) The fact that reputation is matters to a great extent in many cultures must be remembered.
(c) Any such act or speech that might embarrass the other party must be avoided Criticism or use of strong language that might have an effect of humiliation on the other party must always be avoided.
(3) Discussion phase: In this phase both the parties are allowed to present their case with no interruption. It is important to ask questions so as to comprehend the interests of the other party. Listening to the other party is very pertinent at this stage.
(4) Proposal phase: This phase involves making of offers and proposals for a conclusion.
(5) Bargaining phase: The proposals and offers made by the other part must be perused and see if it is compatible. If not, options for making the proposal more effective for a mutual gain can be given. Common interest of the parties must be kept in mind.
(6) Closing phase: At this stage the decision or the conclusion that is reached must be summarized and explained to both the parties to avoid future disputes.
(7) After decision phase: Steps to strengthen the relationship must be taken. And efforts must be made to make the relationship better and respectful.
These were the phases of negotiation that cover the process from the beginning to the last. Each phase has a different theme and a negotiator must act accordingly. Each phase when carried out properly result in a successful negotiation.