Negotiation is often characterised by the scenario of asking for a higher price in order to ‘negotiate’ down to the price you actually want. In this sense it sometimes appears to be a bit of a game, which some people enjoy and others get frustrated with!
Given the current political turmoil, negotiations and deals are very much to the fore on the big stage of transnational agreements. While most of us are very unlikely to be involved in this scale or complexity, in reality most of us are involved in negotiation in everyday life and professional life.
Thus improving skills and knowledge in this area will have many benefits.
Negotiation skills in everyday life
In reality we find ourselves ‘negotiating’ for all kinds of things every day (we just don’t usually call it that).
What time to meet up, transport arrangements, how many people should be involved in a project, what reward should be given, budget limits, who is going to cook a meal, what film to watch etc. etc.
Additionally, there are a wide range of factors which all play their part in influencing negotiated outcomes. Personality, environment, time pressure, confidence, past experience, job security, alternative options available, motivation – the list goes on and on.
Given the regularity with which we find ourselves in ‘negotiations’ and the wide range of influencing factors involved, I am firmly of the belief that negotiating is a life skill, worth developing at every opportunity.
Simply put, the earlier you become equipped, the sooner you will be able to use your negotiation skills for your own benefit, and on behalf of others to get more of the outcomes which you believe are important.
Key steps in negotiation
There are five steps to the negotiation process:
- Preparation and planning – both parties will organize and accumulate the information necessary to have an effective negotiation.
- Definition of ground rules – Consideration will be given to questions, such as Where will negotiations take place? Will time constraints exist? Will there be any issues that are off limits? What happens if there’s not any agreement?
- Clarification and justification – each side argues their case and gives the other an opportunity to questions, scrutinise and understand their respective positions.
- Bargaining and problem solving – here is where both parties discuss what they will and will not accept, resolve issues and arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome.
- Closure and implementation – finalise the agreement and agree a course of action.
A successful negotiation arrives at an outcome where both parties benefit, the so-called win-win.
Negotiation module in our Leadership and Management
Keyturn’s Leadership and management Foundation Programmes include a Negotiation module:
- Strategies and tactics
- Balance of power
- Trading concessions
- Influencing and persuasion
Get in touch with Keyturn through our contact page or call us on 01788 815500.
See also this Negotiation skills article for more information.