Master the art of negotiation

As anyone who has at the very least a fleeting interest in our country’s foreign and economic affairs will be acutely aware, negotiation can be a sensitive topic but is a rather important skill to master. Hence its inclusion in Melius’ selection of essential skills for the next decade.

So how should professionals and business leaders look to master the art of negotiation tackle this subject area?

First and foremost, it is important to recognise that negotiation is a method by which people settle differences, by compromise while avoiding argument and dispute.   In any negotiation, individuals and organisations aim to achieve the best possible outcome for their position but the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome.

Each negotiation regardless of topic follows a broad process of preparation, discussion, clarification, accommodation, revision, agreement and implementation.

The keys to leveraging a successful outcome lie in three main areas: Attitude, Knowledge and Inter-Personal Skills.

All negotiation is strongly influenced by underlying attitudes to the process itself, for example, attitudes to the issues and personalities involved in the particular case.

The more knowledge you possess of the issues in question, the greater your participation in the process of negotiation. Do your homework and gather as much information about the issues as you can.

Good negotiators possess a range of interpersonal skills that include being good listeners and communications, good relationship builders, good problem solvers and decision makers.

Good negotiators are able to be assertive and handle difficult situations without damaging rapport or relationship with those on the other side of the table.

And crucially, good negotiators understand their fall back or best alternative position. Explicit in this is a clear understanding of the implications of not reaching a negotiated agreement, and of the point at which a negotiated position is worse than otherwise achievable elsewhere. No sensible party should accept a negotiated position worse than its best alternative position.

Melius upskills individuals and teams looking to develop their negotiation skills in pursuit of improved business performance. Get in touch with Melius to find out more about how this approach can benefit your business.