How Your Team (at any level) Can Improve Their Negotiation Skills
We’ve just completed and published our new negotiation skills training activity hence the following information we thought we'd share which we discovered during our research. The negotiation skills training activity can be used in face to face training or virtually (via Zoom) training sessions. The activity comes:
- The tutor notes
- Instructions for the learners
- The scenario for negotiation
- Individual confidential sheets
- An observation sheet
- An activity debrief
- Seven further suggestions to improve negotiation skills
All the above for just £25, yours to download and keep.
Improving Negotiation Skills
The main goal of the negotiation skills training activity and the information below is to teach your team members the different stages of negotiation. This structured approach ensures that there is an agreement and that a plan is set for future action – well, that’s the goal.
“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively”
The Process of Negotiation:
- Clarification of goals
- Negotiate towards a Win-Win outcome
- Implementation of a course of action
Before any negotiation takes place, a decision needs to be taken as to when and where the meeting will take place to discuss the problem and who will attend. Setting a limited timescale can also be helpful to keep the meeting on track.
This stage involves ensuring all the relevant facts of the situation are known in order to clarify each other’s position
Begin the conversation by explaining the purpose of the meeting. Set out the structure of the meeting, agree on the standards of behaviour required during the meeting and reassure each member about confidentiality – both prior to and after the meeting.
Don’t be afraid of referring to a pre-prepared script if you have one, it will help you stay on course and remember to focus on the issue and not the person
During this stage, individuals or members of each side put forward the case as they see it, i.e. their understanding of the situation.
Key skills during this stage include questioning, active and mindful listening and clarifying points raised. It’s important to take notes during the discussion stage to record all points put forward in case there is need for further clarification.
There's a saying among negotiators that:
Whoever talks the most during a negotiation loses.
Each side should have an equal opportunity to present their case.
From the discussion, the goals, interests, and viewpoints of both or all parties of the disagreement need to be clarified. It is helpful to list these factors in order of priority. With this clarification it is often possible to identify or establish some common ground, as it becomes apparent in the Negotiation Skills training Activity. Clarification is an essential part of the negotiation process. Without it, misunderstandings are likely to occur which may cause problems and barriers to reaching a beneficial outcome.
If the negotiation is a performance management issue, you should have already spoken to the team member informally about the problem - informal resolution, pre-stage one of a performance improvement plan (PIP) – surprises can be very hard to handle! If you have been monitoring their behaviour or conduct, this should have been agreed with them earlier.
If the meeting is just aimed at giving them a reminder about behaviour or conduct, then stick to that – be clear about what you are doing.
Negotiate Towards a Win-Win Outcome
This stage focuses on a 'win-win' outcome where both sides feel they have gained something positive through the process of negotiation and both sides feel their point of view has been taken into consideration. A win-win outcome is usually the best result. Although this may not always be possible, through negotiation, it should be the ultimate goal. Suggestions of alternative strategies and compromises need to be considered at this point also.
Both parties should really listen to what each other has to say – while they may need to let off steam, they also need to keep an open mind and not jump to conclusions. It’s good to acknowledge each other’s position and any mitigating circumstances. Introduce your questions and explore the issues together.
Stay clear of emotive language and don’t respond to manipulative behaviour.
Agreement can be achieved once understanding of both sides’ viewpoints and interests have been considered. Like a parachute the mind is most effective when it’s open and it’s essential for everybody involved to keep an open mind in order to achieve an acceptable solution, we’d visit this in the preparation stage. Any agreement needs to be made perfectly clear so that both sides know what has been decided.
Discuss the options and make a decision, if necessary, organise a follow up meeting. After each meeting monitor and feedback on progress and continue to provide support where agreed. Document any agreement and give a copy to each person in the meeting.
Implementing a Course of Action
From the agreement, a course of action has to be implemented to carry through the decision. It’s also a good idea for each member of the negotiation to self-assess their own performance and whether or not there is any room for improvement for the next negotiation. This is the self-awareness and reflective part of emotional intelligence
Remember: “It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it is the grain of sand in your shoe.” (Muhammad Ali)
If you’d like some further information of the Negotiation Skills Training Activity click here.
We specialise in Management, Leadership, Coaching and HR training. We have created a 12 Month Action Focused Leadership and Management Program which we either deliver ourselves or sell under license for your trainers to deliver to your team (or training consultants to add to their portfolio of courses) - Contact us for a brochure
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