If you were one of the millions of commuters who struggled to get into work yesterday, you’ll be keeping your fingers crossed that today’s negotiations between the and RMT and Network Rail will go well and succeed in breaking the deadlock. We all know that when emotions are running high, it’s very easy for negotiations to become heated, causing one party or the other to walk away from the table. As experts in negotiation, we wanted to share the three steps both parties should take to negotiate successfully and banish the 3 D’s of negotiation – deadlock, disagreement and disappointment.


1. Before the re-match

Whilst you’re away from the table you need to be creative about how you can break the deadlock.  Often the deadlock has been caused because there isn’t an overlap in positions. Prepare ahead and think creatively about any new variables you can bring to the negotiations for both you and your counterpart.  


2. Coming to the table

Be clear in your mind what the end game is. Not only do you need a winning mindset when you come to the table, you also have to believe you can reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. This will help you resist the temptation to put up barriers or throw in unnecessary curve balls yourself and back the other party into a corner.  


3. During the re-negotiations 

There is often a huge amount of pressure to break deadlock but don’t be in a rush to close.  Harness your self-control and call time-outs when you need them – they are a powerful way of helping you gather your thoughts or change the mood of the negotiations. Time outs can also help you stay aligned as a team and give you the opportunity to prepare a fresh proposal. 


Finally, and most importantly, remember communication and the art of trading are the most powerful way of breaking deadlock. Let’s hope that the RMT and Network Rail heed this advice and keep the negotiations moving forward so they can achieve an outcome acceptable to both parties.

Have you had experience of reaching deadlock? We’d love to hear your stories?