The thought of sharing information with your counterpart during negotiations can seem a little risky-share too much and you might appear desperate to make a deal. You also risk giving away pertinent information that your counterpart could use against you. Many negotiators are fearful of sharing information because they worry it will hurt them in the process. Though it is wise to proceed with caution, sharing information can also be important in order to create the most valuable outcome. At the end of the day, information is a precious resource to any negotiation, and when used correctly, can help both parties achieve their goals. Let’s take a closer look at which information is safe to be shared and how negotiators can do so without regret at the bargaining table.
It’s not always necessary to wait for the other party to offer up information first. In fact, there are advantages to sharing information first. Thanks to the power of reciprocity, sharing information can actually encourage your counterpart to come back with powerful information of their own. In general, you should feel comfortable sharing information about your interests as well as your priorities. Here are a few types of information you might encounter during negotiations:
Facts: You might need to share information about past experiences, events, goods, and services you have used. You might also include information about current obligations or liabilities. It is also acceptable to share information about parties needed to make decisions.
Opinions and Values: This kind of information refers to how your company feels about a new product or service. This could also include what specific priorities are most important to your company and what will bring them the most value.
Preferences: This information would include the needs, wants, and goals of your company as well as their bottom line and BATNA.
Consider the information that would be helpful in accomplishing your goal without giving away concealing information. You do not need to share things like deadlines, your lowest price, or what issues are deal breakers. You should, however, make the other party aware of what your goals are and how you plan to address them. Furthermore, it is always acceptable to share information that is readily available such as financial statements, legal documents, and any other information that could be obtained from an internet search. In the end, the information shared should be used to devise a win-win solution for both parties and by sharing such information, you create a trusting professional relationship and a long-term opportunity for your company.