Laying the Groundwork
Phase One — Exchanging Information
About Mutual Gain
Phase Three — Closing
Dealing with Difficult Issues
This video course is the same course content that we deliver in our classroom negotiation skills course.
Listen to the audio of these negotiation skills training videos with this MP3
Module One: Getting Started
Welcome to the Negotiation Skills workshop. Although people often think of boardrooms, suits, and million dollar deals when they hear the word “negotiation,” the truth is that we negotiate all the time.
For example, have you ever…
Decided where to eat with a group of friends?
Decided on chore assignments with your family?
Asked your boss for a raise?
These are all situations that involve negotiating! This workshop will give participants an understanding of the phases of negotiation, tools to use during a negotiation, and ways to build win-win solutions for all those involved.
Module Three: Getting Prepared
Like any challenging task, negotiation requires preparation. Before you begin a negotiation, you need to define what you hope to get out of it, what you will settle for, and what you consider unacceptable. You also need to prepare yourself personally. The key to personal preparation is to approach the negotiation with self-confidence and a positive attitude.
Module Four: Laying the Groundwork
In the previous module, we looked at the importance of establishing your bargaining position. In this module we consider other aspects of preparation: setting the time and place, establishing common ground, and creating a negotiating framework. Even at this early stage it is important to have certain principles in place. If you allow them to be compromised, then you will already have put yourself in a position where you can be considered as prey for hostile negotiators. Getting the groundwork in place may seem like a formality, but it is the first stage of negotiations, and therefore as much a part of the arrangements as any other.
Module Five: Phase One — Exchanging Information
The first phase in a negotiation involves an exchange of information. Both sides state their positions on the issues being addressed in a non-confrontational way. The tricky part of this phase is deciding what to reveal and what to hold back. The “poker” metaphor for negotiating is a very good one, because it describes exactly the way that negotiating parties will want to “allow” each other to think. The information you share with your negotiating counterpart will allow them to read a certain amount about your position. You cannot negotiate blindly, after all.
Module Six: Phase Two — Bargaining
Now we have reached the heart of the negotiation process. This phase — bargaining — is what most people mean when they talk about negotiation. This module explains what to expect when you begin to bargain and what to do if you run into an impasse. It also describes some common bargaining techniques used by experienced negotiators.
Module Seven: About Mutual Gain
In their classic book Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury argue that most negotiations are not as efficient or as successful as they might be because people tend to argue about positions rather than interests. Once the parties in a negotiation commit themselves to a position, they feel that changing their position represents failure. Instead, Fisher and Ury suggest that the parties in a negotiation focus on their interests. What can we get out of the negotiation that will further our interests? That is the question that should guide a negotiation toward achieving mutual gain.
Module Eight: Phase Three — Closing
The final phase of a negotiation is a time for reaching consensus and building an agreement. A little hard work in this phase can ensure that the negotiation achieves it desired results.
Closing a negotiation can mean two different things: First it may be a question of how to bring different ideas to a mutually agreed conclusion. A second possibility view of ‘closing’ is what means negotiating parties can use to acknowledge or formalize the idea that agreement has been reached.
Recognizing that parties have reached agreement can be quite simple. One can ask the other(s), “Then, have we reached agreement?” The parties can shake hands, make a public announcement, or sign a document. The real issue is that each has to make it clear to other negotiators that a mutually agreed conclusion has indeed been reached.
Module 9: Dealing With Difficult Issues
Most people are willing to negotiate in good faith. They don’t resort to tricks or intimidation. Every once in a while, though, you might encounter someone who takes a less principled approach. You need to be prepared to deal with people who don’t play fair. It is not cynicism to prepare for the possibility that someone will try to bend the rules, especially when those rules are unwritten. It is simply good preparation, and realism. Some people are unscrupulous, but if you know how to handle them it need not be the end of the world.
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