What negotiation is and isn’t Negotiation is a process involving two, or more, parties reconciling different and competing objectives. There are various situations which are similar to negotiation but which are not the same. Negotiation may involve some of these though:
Joint problem solving – where both parties have the same objective
- Deadlock – where the objectives are mutually exclusive
- Confrontation – strongly assertive but uncooperative approach which might border on aggression or bullying. Winning at all cost is the priority.
- Submission or Surrendering – strength or power is used by one party to force an agreement
- Consulting - seeking views but not necessarily requiring a decision
- Evading – the problem may be ignored or people may ‘bury their head in the sand’ and hope that it goes away
- Compromising – a give and take approach which encourages a greater or lesser degree of cooperation. Depending on whether the compromise is passive and uncooperative or assertive collaboration will to a lesser or greater extent determined whether it’s effective negotiation or not.
- Collaborating – flexibility is required in order to reach an effective outcome, but if views or positions on either side are very strongly held than we may not be able to collaborate in order to negotiate.
Effective negotiation requires the skills of (or ability to use):
- Reading body language,
- Verbal communication,
- Effective listening,
- Accurate written communication
- Thorough research and understanding of your position, your power and what you’re willing to concede in order to gain through compromise and trade-off. This is a key point which is often neglected by inexperienced negotiators.
- An understanding of the other parties’ position
- The ability to deal with conflict
- The ability to remain calm
- A sense of humor? Possibly.
- Accurate note taking and record keeping
- Knowing when to stop
The negotiation process as sequence of activities
Normally negotiation will involve five stages; these are usually sequential but not always so.
Negotiation in Business
Joint problem solving
Submission or surrendering
- Agree or Not Agree