Negotiations are something we do almost every day of our
lives, usually in the domestic arena. The worst and hardest
negotiations are probably hostage negotiations where the
object is to secure the safe release of the victim but without giving in to demands and so encouraging the cycle to be
repeated. For the most part business negotiations are, we
hope less dramatic than a hostage situation although trade
union negotiations can be fraught and tense with enormous
implications depending on the result.
For us a successful business negotiation should be win –
win but not always possible. We can divide negotiations into
short term where relationships are unimportant such as
buying a car and long term where there is a wish to keep
good relationships with the other party.
Negotiations with a long term relationship is the main
focus of our work. They falls into three areas:
- Relationship skills. Those who build high
levels of trust are skilled in finding what the other
party wants and able to communicate their
needs effectively will have an advantage over those who pay low
attention to these aspects. However, good relationship
skills do not, on their own, achieve the best result.
Indeed, good relationships may even weaken your resolve
when you need to be focused, hide your hand and be
- Process. Preparation is part of successful negotiating. Establishing your needs and walk
away position; what you can trade, and being diligent in
finding their needs will increase your chances of
success. It also about being patient – not easy when
there are time constraints.
- Psychological. This is about emotions and
nerve. A tough negotiator will weaken he
other person’s position through a number of techniques.
We do not hugely admire manipulation yet we must be
aware of them.
Our training and advice for specific negotiations follows
the three principles established above. We use generic
role-plays to bring out lessons and will prepare specific in
house role-plays to exercise our clients realistically in
the position in which they find themselves.