Meeting News

Attorneys offer rheumatologists 3 tips to ‘unlock’ negotiation skills

HILTON HEAD, S.C. — Here at the Association of Women in Rheumatology National Conference, attorneys Drew Erteschik and J.M. Durnovich of Poyner Spruill in North Carolina, discussed the importance of negotiation and offered pointers for negotiating contracts or terms of employment.

“Lawyers are particularly good at negotiating; they teach that stuff in law school,” Erteschik said. “But I’ve also seen physician clients, health care clients, and pharma clients of ours negotiate really well without lawyers. The skills you all have as highly educated, highly motivated, extroverted and introverted individuals ... makes you uniquely suited to be able to negotiate — you just need to unlock those skills.”

Developing negotiation skills is important, they explained, because “literally everything is negotiable.” Moreover, skilled negotiators can save costs and reduce risk.

When preparing for negotiation, the experts outlined the following steps:

Identify your priorities

It’s important to establish your baseline, including your range of acceptable outcomes. “What are the must-haves of this deal? What can you live without? Identify the very bottom line and determine when you can walk out the door of the negotiation,” Erteschik said. “And never accept a deal that’s worse than the walk-away point you identified ahead of time.”

Gather intelligence

Knowledge is power. “In a negotiation, it’s not everything, but it’s close to it,” Erteschik said. It is important to research your adversary, research and know the market and don’t forget to know yourself well.

Understand the power dynamics

Ask yourself, “What are my options here and outside the negotiating room?” Erteschik and Durnovich suggest. Also, be realistic about respective bargaining power at the table and prepare for ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ deals. And always ask what other options are available to you.

When at the negotiating table, professionalism and credibility are key, they explained. Remain professional by staying calm, cool and collected and don’t engage in ad homonym attacks. Additionally, maintain your credibility by always telling the truth to the person on the other side of the table.

It’s also important to sell yourself and your product. Durnovich suggests putting yourself in your adversary’s shoes and identifying why they should want to do business with you.

When things get difficult and hardball tactics are employed, don’t stoop to your adversary’s level. Instead, ask questions and probe weaknesses while remaining patient and sticking only to the facts.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative. Listen carefully to your adversary’s interests and concerns and consider ways to circumvent sticking points.

Erteschik recommended asking your adversary for three things they want, aside from money. When negotiating an employment contract, this could be something as simple as flexible hours or extra vacation days.

“There are a lot of ways you can go once you enter into a negotiation and sometimes it’s not what you expected at the start,” Durnovich said. – by Stacey L. Adams

For more information:
Durnovich JM, Erteschik D. Getting what you want: Negotiation skills and contract concepts for the practicing rheumatologist. Presented at: AWIR National Conference; August 15-18, 2019; Hilton Head, S.C.

Disclosure: Durnovich and Erteschik report no relevant financial disclosures.

HILTON HEAD, S.C. — Here at the Association of Women in Rheumatology National Conference, attorneys Drew Erteschik and J.M. Durnovich of Poyner Spruill in North Carolina, discussed the importance of negotiation and offered pointers for negotiating contracts or terms of employment.

“Lawyers are particularly good at negotiating; they teach that stuff in law school,” Erteschik said. “But I’ve also seen physician clients, health care clients, and pharma clients of ours negotiate really well without lawyers. The skills you all have as highly educated, highly motivated, extroverted and introverted individuals ... makes you uniquely suited to be able to negotiate — you just need to unlock those skills.”

Developing negotiation skills is important, they explained, because “literally everything is negotiable.” Moreover, skilled negotiators can save costs and reduce risk.

When preparing for negotiation, the experts outlined the following steps:

Identify your priorities

It’s important to establish your baseline, including your range of acceptable outcomes. “What are the must-haves of this deal? What can you live without? Identify the very bottom line and determine when you can walk out the door of the negotiation,” Erteschik said. “And never accept a deal that’s worse than the walk-away point you identified ahead of time.”

Gather intelligence

Knowledge is power. “In a negotiation, it’s not everything, but it’s close to it,” Erteschik said. It is important to research your adversary, research and know the market and don’t forget to know yourself well.

Understand the power dynamics

Ask yourself, “What are my options here and outside the negotiating room?” Erteschik and Durnovich suggest. Also, be realistic about respective bargaining power at the table and prepare for ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ deals. And always ask what other options are available to you.

When at the negotiating table, professionalism and credibility are key, they explained. Remain professional by staying calm, cool and collected and don’t engage in ad homonym attacks. Additionally, maintain your credibility by always telling the truth to the person on the other side of the table.

It’s also important to sell yourself and your product. Durnovich suggests putting yourself in your adversary’s shoes and identifying why they should want to do business with you.

When things get difficult and hardball tactics are employed, don’t stoop to your adversary’s level. Instead, ask questions and probe weaknesses while remaining patient and sticking only to the facts.

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Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative. Listen carefully to your adversary’s interests and concerns and consider ways to circumvent sticking points.

Erteschik recommended asking your adversary for three things they want, aside from money. When negotiating an employment contract, this could be something as simple as flexible hours or extra vacation days.

“There are a lot of ways you can go once you enter into a negotiation and sometimes it’s not what you expected at the start,” Durnovich said. – by Stacey L. Adams

For more information:
Durnovich JM, Erteschik D. Getting what you want: Negotiation skills and contract concepts for the practicing rheumatologist. Presented at: AWIR National Conference; August 15-18, 2019; Hilton Head, S.C.

Disclosure: Durnovich and Erteschik report no relevant financial disclosures.

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