6 Steps to Negotiate Properly and Achieve Better Outcome
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One of the most common yet often unnoticed processes that most of us often experience on a daily basis is a negotiation. In a normal day, we might witness people negotiating with the bank manager over the terms and conditions applicable to a business loan, or with a supplier about an issue with regard to the quality of the raw materials, or simply with their children over the decision of who will take the dog out for a morning walk.
Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or social status, negotiations are a well-engrained activity in our society and business activities and is crucial in influencing other people’s decisions and achieving personal objectives. It’s not only a common activity but also essential to living an effective and satisfying life. Once fully mastered, it can help you achieve the goal without being detrimental to anyone’s interests. That said, one must fully understand the proper negotiation procedure first, in order to ensure its success.
In this post, we will help you follow a structured approach to negotiation, allowing you to reach an agreement where both you and the other party gain something.
What is Negotiator
Before anything else, it is important to understand the role of a negotiator. A negotiator is a person acting on behalf of an organization or an authority, who listens to all the stakeholders sensibly and patiently and effectively reaches a logical conclusion which is open-mindedly welcomed by all.
Elements of Negotiation
Process: The method by which individuals negotiate with each other is termed as the process of negotiation. The procedure includes the various techniques and strategies implemented to negotiate and arrive at a solution.
Behaviour: How the two concerned parties deal with each other during the course of negotiation is referred to as behaviour. The style with which they interact with each other, the methods they use to communicate with each other to make their perspectives clear, all jointly come under behaviour.
Substance: There should be in place an agenda on which individuals negotiate. A focus area is important for negotiation. In the first scenario, going for the late-night movie was the set agenda on which you wanted to negotiate with your parents on one side, and your friends on the other side.
Stages of Negotiation
1. Groundwork: Prior to negotiation, it must first be decided where and when the meeting will take place and who are the parties that will attend. It is crucial to set up a limited time frame to avoid prolonging the disagreement of both the parties. This stage focuses on ensuring that all relevant facts of the situation are known by all people involved so that they can truly understand your stand. A proper preparation before discussing the issues or disagreement will ensure that no other conflicts will be instigated, and no precious time will be wasted during the meeting.
2. Dialogue: During this stage, members of both parties present their understanding of the situation. Asking the right questions, listening without the intent to reply and clarifying any unclear statements are the critical skills required during this stage. It is also helpful if you make notes during the discussion to record all points stated, in case there is a need for further clarification.
Listening is very much valued at this stage because it is when one party fails to acknowledge what the other party has said, that disagreements take place. So, it is critical to ensure that both parties have an equal opportunity to their present case.
3. Clarifying goals, interest, and views: After a thorough discussion has been made, the goals, interests and viewpoints of both sides should be clarified. During this stage, it is crucial to list these factors in an order of priority.
Research by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton School, revealed that you can achieve more positive outcomes by ranking and leaving all the issues on the table and being transparent about it. Clarification is an essential part of the negotiation process, without it, confusions are likely to occur which may cause problems and barriers to reaching a positive outcome.
4. Negotiate towards mutually beneficial results: At this stage, the goal is to come up with a win-win solution where both sides feel they have gained something positive and valuable through the process of negotiation and both sides feel their views have been duly taken into consideration.
Though a mutually beneficial outcome may not always be possible, it’s still important to work towards achieving this goal. Suggestions for alternatives and compromises should also be considered at this stage. Compromises are often positive alternatives which can often achieve bigger gains for all concerned, compared to holding on to the original positions.
5. Agreement: This pivotal stage is achieved through the acceptance of the viewpoints and interests presented by both sides in the prior stages. Open-mindedness is crucial during this stage in order to achieve an acceptable explanation on the issue. All the details about the agreement should be made perfectly clear so that both parties know what exactly has been decided.
6. Execution: Once a solution has been agreed by both the parties, a course of action should be executed to carry forward the decision. It is advisable to break down the tasks into simpler and more manageable actions to see if the intended result is being tracked or not.
What Skills Make a Negotiator Effective?
Having good interpersonal skills is one of the secret element in achieving a successful negotiation. This includes the following:
· Effective Verbal Communication
· Clarification and Inference
· Rapport Building
· Problem Solving
· Decision Making
· Dealing with Difficult Situations
By adhering to this process, you will become more confident in all your negotiation endeavours. Always keep in mind that the backbone of a successful negotiation is a relationship that respects each other’s views and goals. By maintaining a good rapport with everyone involved in the issue, you can certainly come up with a solution where everyone can win. More than a successful agreement, you are also cultivating better long-term relationships and reputation for yourself.