#CityHallSelfie day: vote for the Members Choice Award for the best #CityHallSelfie by Friday, August 23!

Problem Solving Negotiations Training Recap

Posted on April 24, 2019


Iceberg doodle with "positions" on top and "interests" under the water

Today’s Buzz is by Kylie Bayer, HR Manager, City of McMinnville, OR

Connect: Twitter or LinkedIn

What I’m Listening To: Lizzo. Loudly. Also maybe this playlist

What I’m Reading: Do You Have Kids? Life When The Answer Is No by Kate Kaufmann

What I’m Watching: Game 5 of the Portland/OKC playoff series and giggling at the tweets from Blazers fans who still hate Raymond Felton (I am one of them, that guy totally sucks).


A couple of months ago I received an email from my boss saying we had secured a training opportunity with former Nebraska Senator, David Landis, quite the name in the negotiations game. Representatives from my city and our neighboring jurisdictions spent the day learning strategies to identify the interests of parties involved in negotiations, practicing negotiation techniques, and like nurses playing card games. The card games were totally tied to our training, don’t @ me.

Here are a few takeaways from the training I’d like to share with you:

  • Know your bottom line. Know your “worst yes” so you know how far to push or how far you can be pushed. In the case of union negotiations, get your $$$ figured out early on. Know what your costs are, what you can afford, and what your management and governing body are comfortable with.
  • Figure out early on in your negotiations if you can trust the other parties, and work to build and maintain that trust. This can be hard to do, especially if your negotiation timeline doesn’t allow for the time to build that trust. In rushed timelines, be open about your party’s interests and make sure your actions at the negotiation table reflect those interests.
  • Gather yesses. While you may get to a sticking point or two in the process, look for yesses and small wins throughout the process. The best negotiators are the ones who gather yesses and find that common ground between negotiation parties.
  • Ask questions and figure out the other party’s interests. If you can identify shared interests you have a better chance of finding solutions.
  • Speaking of solutions, get creative. If you’re lucky, you’ll know the interests driving each party. Work together to craft creative solutions that work for everyone. Be open in these processes, those creative solutions might not be what you had in mind…
  • Be open but be cautious. Oversharing information or showing all of your cards can be detrimental. Hold back a little bit.
  • If all else fails, remember that everyone has their own reasons for negotiating a deal. They might not have all of the information or all of the accurate information so be empathetic, be patient, and keep at it.

If you have a chance to host Senator Landis or register for a training with him, I recommend it. Just don’t ask him to pay you in Trivial Pursuit, he’ll kick your ass, so I’m told. Big time shoutout to John Morgan of the Chinook Institute for Civic Leadership; John helped us get Senator Landis to McMinnville, thank you, John!!!

Close window