Negotiations have long been considered adversarial by nature. Indeed, traditional negotiation theory holds that the process is a competition which is yours to win or lose. Conducted that way, negotiation becomes an exercise in which power is wielded, positions are emphasized and rhetoric rules.
An alternative to this "winner takes all" approach is Interest-Based Bargaining, or IBB. In this approach, the parties identify issues of concern rather than creating elaborate and often unrealistic "proposals" from which they can each bargain down.
Rather than arguing over the merits of wish list proposals, the parties devote their energies to seeking out mutually workable solutions to real problems in their relationship. In this way, their interests are addressed, leading to better, wiser communication and ultimately more sustainable agreements.
Interest-based bargaining engages the parties in pursuit of mutual gains solutions. It emphasizes a confident, future focus rather than a defensive, "hold on to the past" approach.