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Ways of Being: Effective Negotiation Strategies Essay

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Updated: Feb 2nd, 2022


Conflict is among the challenges we face in our personal and professional lives. While we may try to avoid conflicts, the prevalence of disputes, in our society is indicative of the fact that conflicts are normal in our lives. As such, how we resolve conflicts determine our success or failure in society and at work. It is therefore important that we solve contentious issues in a constructive manner. Over the years, negotiation strategies and tactics that can be used during conflict resolution have been developed. This paper shall set out to explore negotiation strategies proposed by Kritek (2002), in her insightful book. This shall be done by highlighting and discussing three “ways of being” that the author explores in her book.

“Ways of Being”: Summary and Response

Shamir (2003) defines negotiation as the process through which conflicting parties engage in communicative efforts aimed at finding an acceptable solution. “Ways of being” are strategies that can be used to “negotiate conflicts in situations where some participants are at a disadvantage that others do not acknowledge (Kritek, 2002, p. xiii).” She defines “ways of being” as approaches that parties in a conflict choose to present their argument at an uneven table (Kritek, 2002).

Way of Being Number Two: Be a Truth Teller

In chapter 18, the author discusses the importance of being truthful during negotiations. According to Kritek (2002), telling the truth about one’s position goes a long way in leveling the field and creating balance during the negotiation. In addition, she reveals listening as a tool that can be used to foster creativity during the negotiation process. She also highlights strategies that could be used to unveil the truth, and discusses truth telling as a measure of self-honesty (Kritek, 2002). Throughout this chapter, the author insists that being truthful and supporting other truth tellers can help people with a disadvantage negotiate more competitively, all the while providing them with the leverage needed to reach a mutually beneficial consensus.

Being truthful is imperative to any conversation. It helps foster trust among the parties involved, and enables each person to establish his or her position. In addition, it helps the negotiators to accept the limit to their knowledge regarding the issue being discussed. However, I believe that during negotiations one must be careful when unveiling the truth so as to avoid looking desperate. This is because desperation is a sign of weakness that can be used to strike unfair deals.

Way of Being Number Seven: Innovate

Shavinina (2003) asserts that innovativeness is an essential component in the management of competitive situation. The author attributes this to the fact that innovation helps individuals introduce new concepts and strategies even when faced with challenges. Kritek (2002) further collaborate Shavinina’s assertions in the 23rd chapter of her book. In this chapter, she discusses the importance of knowing the rules, questioning illusions, being curious, having fun, and understanding humor during negotiation. This is because these aspects can help one manipulate the mood, come up with different angles of viewing issues, and persuade the other parties to buy into the ideas one is selling (Kritek, 2002).

Innovation presents one with an opportunity to educate others and translate what they are saying. As such, being innovative during a negotiation enables one to introduce compelling concepts at the table, thereby giving one the upper hand during the discussion. In addition innovation provides one with the opportunity to maneuver across set limits in a clever way, all the while ensuring that other parties’ needs have not been violated.

Way of Being Number Eight: Know What You Do and Do Not Know

Information is pivotal if success is to be achieved in any endeavor. Kritek (2002) states that having ample information during a negotiation may help achieve balance at an uneven table. In her book, the author asserts that it is always important to acknowledge the limits to one’s information. This means that during a negotiation, one should know what he or she knows and what remains unknown regarding the issue being discussed. With such knowledge, one is better placed to be discriminatory about their choice of words, know his or her illusions and time his or her arguments based on facts (Kritek, 2002). In addition, the author suggests that knowing one’s limit to information makes him or her a better listener, thereby enabling them to learn new facts during the negotiation.

Kritek’s point of view is very accurate. This is because most negotiations fail to reach a consensus due to lack of adequate preparedness. In most cases, parties to a negotiation feel comfortable when they deal with people who have extensive knowledge about the situation and its effects on their beliefs. As such, when a party appears to be guessing or unsure, the negotiation process is bound to be unfair or fail.


Throughout this paper, negotiation has been presented as an effective means to resolving disputes. An understanding of the various “ways of being” proposed by Kritek (2002) empowers parties during the negotiation process. While these strategies may prove to be effective, caution should be taken to ensure that they are used wisely.


Kritek, P. (2002). Negotiating at an Uneven Table: Developing Moral Courage in Resolving Our Conflicts. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Shamir, Y. (2003). Alternative Dispute Resolution Approaches and their Application. New York: PCCP Publications.

Shavinina, V. (2003). The International Handbook on Innovation. New Jersey: Elsevier.

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