What is negotiation?
Negotiation is the process of the discussion where two or more parties are seeking to reach a compromise or agreement while avoiding argument and dispute.
The most precise definition of a ‘negotiation’ was given by Richard Shell in his book ‘Bargaining for Advantage’ “Is an interactive communication process that may take place whenever we want something from someone else or another person wants something from us.”
Why is it important to negotiate?
It is inevitable that disagreement could appear in every case of everyday living.
You may have an opportunity to negotiate your needs and other job details with your employer, or you will have to discuss different beliefs, wishes and needs with people. Without negotiation, such disagreements may lead to argument and resentment resulting in one or all of the parties feeling dissatisfied. Of course, you cannot learn the script of conversation, but you can learn the main rules of negotiation. General negotiation skills can be learned and applied in a wide range of activities.
According to Richard Shell, the process of negotiation has following 4 stages:
- Exchanging information;
- Closing and Commitment
- Preparation – Clarifying idea
One of the keys to successful negotiation is an ability to express your needs and thoughts clearly to the other party. So you have to clarify your needs, thoughts, mark what you would like to mention.
Furthermore, a research about the other party, before the process of negotiation would be helpful. Find out the reputation, tactics and other important information about other party (the more is always the better). This way you will be able to feel more confident.
Undertaking preparation before discussing the disagreement will help to avoid further conflict and unnecessarily wasting time during the meeting.
- Exchanging Information – Effective communication.
Always research and check the information you are going to provide. The communication should be effective:
Do not be afraid to ask questions, but you should plan them as well.:
(Open-ended questions (typically begin with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why.”) are used to gain information and build a relationship;
Closed-ended questions (questions that encourage short answers, such as “yes” or “no”) are used to gain a concession or confirm a deal point.)
Listening is the best way to understand the negotiator and look at the deal from the other point of view. If you have any doubts, always clarify them (as it was mentioned – don’t be afraid to ask). If you get more information it will be easier to uncover your opponent’s needs. It will then be easier for you to show how you are able to meet those needs. Sometimes it is helpful to take notes to record all points put forward in case there is a need for further clarification.
It is important that each side will have an equal opportunity to present their case.
- Bargaining – Clarifying goals
The bargaining stage is the stage where most of the work is done by both parties. However, it is usually the most difficult part to be reached as well.
Both sides would have to learn to compromise on several aspects in order to come to a final agreement.
What we are seeking is termed a ‘win-win’ outcome. This is where both sides feel they have gained as much positive things as it was able through the process of negotiation. A win-win outcome is usually the best result. Although this may not always be possible, through negotiation, it should be the ultimate goal.
Also, at this point should be considered all the suggestions of alternative strategies and compromises. Compromising often helps to achieve greater benefit for both parties than holding to their original positions.
To reach a compromise usually means that each party would have to give up with something in case to gain another. It is essential for you always to have an open mind and be tactful while at the same time not giving away too much and settling for less.
- Closing and Commitment
Agreement are going to be achieved when both sides will understand and consider each other’s’ viewpoints and interests. It is essential 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.
The final stage is the point where the last few adjustments to the deal are made by the involved parties, before closing the deal and placing their trust in each other to fulfill their role.
It is important throughout the negotiation to be open and honest. Negotiations are supposed to leave both parties feeling satisfied and happy with the outcome.
In the long run, you’ll find out how to master the art of negotiation and be able to close a good deal without too much effort.
“Negotiating is first and foremost about communications. It is a dialogue in which each person explains his or her position and listens to what the other person is saying. During this exchange of views, proposals are made and concessions are explored. The end result is intended to create added value for both parties. Key to this is establishing credibility from the outset if the negotiations are to progress smoothly.” – Claude Cellich, Professor of Negotiation at the International University in Geneva