Skills for effective Negotiation15th March 2021
Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute.
In any disagreement, individuals understandably aim to achieve the best possible outcome for their position (or perhaps an organisation they represent). However, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome.
Before any negotiation takes place, a decision needs to be taken as to when and where a meeting will take place to discuss the problem and who will attend. Setting a limited time-scale can also be helpful to prevent the disagreement continuing.
This stage involves ensuring all the pertinent facts of the situation are known in order to clarify your own position. In the work example above, this would include knowing the ‘rules’ of your organisation, to whom help is given, when help is not felt appropriate and the grounds for such refusals. Your organisation may well have policies to which you can refer in preparation for the negotiation.
Undertaking preparation before discussing the disagreement will help to avoid further conflict and unnecessarily wasting time during the meeting.
Active Listening Skills
Negotiators have the skills to listen actively to the other party during the debate. Active listening involves the ability to read body language as well as verbal communication. It is important to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise during the meeting. Instead of spending the bulk of the time in negotiation expounding the virtues of his viewpoint, the skilled negotiator will spend more time listening to the other party.
Keep Emotions in Check
It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results. For example, a manager frustrated with the lack of progress during a salary negotiation may concede more than is acceptable to the organization in an attempt to end the frustration.
On the other hand, employees negotiating a pay raise may become too emotionally involved to accept a compromise with management and take an all or nothing approach, which breaks down the communication between the two parties.
Clear and Effective Communication
Negotiators must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the other side during the negotiation. Misunderstandings can occur if the negotiator does not state his case clearly. During a bargaining meeting, an effective negotiator must have the skills to state his desired outcome as well as his reasoning.
Negotiate Towards a Win-Win Outcome
This stage focuses on what is termed a ‘win-win’ outcome where both sides feel they have gained something positive through the process of negotiation and both sides feel their point of view has been taken into consideration.
Agreement can be achieved once understanding of both sides’ viewpoints and interests have been considered.
It is essential to for everybody involved to keep an open mind in order to achieve an acceptable solution. Any agreement needs to be made perfectly clear so that both sides know what has been decided.
Problem Solving Skills
Individuals with negotiation skills have the ability to seek a variety of solutions to problems. Instead of focusing on his ultimate goal for the negotiation, the individual with skills can focus on solving the problem, which may be a breakdown in communication, to benefit both sides of the issue.
Decision Making Ability
Leaders with negotiation skills have the ability to act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary during a bargaining arrangement to agree to a compromise quickly to end a stalemate.
Maintaining Good Relationships
Effective negotiators have the interpersonal skills to maintain a good working relationship with those involved in the negotiation. Negotiators with patience and the ability to persuade others without using manipulation can maintain a positive atmosphere during a difficult negotiation.
Ethics and Reliability
Ethical standards and reliability in an effective negotiator promote a trusting environment for negotiations. Both sides in a negotiation must trust that the other party will follow through on promises and agreements. A negotiator must have the skills to execute on his promises after bargaining ends.