If you’re thinking about negotiation and asking yourself the question “What is negotiation?”, then read on….

Negotiation is a process in which two or more parties discuss their differences in an attempt to work through them and arrive at an agreement.

There are different negotiating styles and the way in which people approach negotiation can depend upon a number of factors. These variables can include ….

– the time available to reach a resolution

– the importance of the issues to the different parties

– the past experience of the people involved

– the priority that the parties attach to goodwill for the future

Negotiation involves a discussion in which there usually needs to be some “give and take” if an agreement is to be reached. In other words, negotiation requires the parties to be willing to compromise and make some concessions in order to work through their differences.

If there has been some “bad” history between the negotiating parties, then sometimes a mediator may be called upon to help ensure more positive communication and a focus upon the issues rather than personalities.

  1. Everyday negotiating

Negotiation is something we do every day, although we may not necessarily be doing it consciously.

In our personal lives it may be when we work out with family, friends or spouses who is doing what chores around the house; which restaurant we’re going to eat at or where we will go on our next holiday.

In the workplace, it might be negotiations with co-workers over time-lines or the distribution of tasks, it could be negotiating prices with customers or suppliers, or negotiating with the boss over your leave application.

Different people can approach the same negotiation in different ways.

  • The combative negotiating style

This style is characterised by a negotiator who simply wants the best deal that they can get ……. Often, they will argue with you and attempt to use tactics designed to put you off-balance, confuse you, rush you or pressure you.

The combative or competitive negotiator does not really care about the relationship. They tend to be governed by a short term perspective. They play negotiation as a “win-lose” game and they don’t care if their gain is at your expense

  • The collaborative negotiating style

This approach to negotiation is based upon viewing the other person as more of a “partner” and aiming to work co-operatively with them to find solutions that will work for the both of you. It is a style that is characterised by a person doing at least as much listening and questioning, as they do talking.

The ability to apply a collaborative negotiating style is essential if you are wanting to build long term relationships.

It does not mean that you always seek to avoid conflict, nor does it mean that you will accommodate anything that the other party wants so as to keep them happy.

What it does mean is that your goal is to resolve differences with the other party in a way that is fair and reasonable. You want to find solutions that will meet the core interests of the both of you. When you view the other party as a partner, you will be aiming as far as possible to help them reach their goals as much as you want to meet your own goals.

  • How to negotiate effectively

Our negotiation training course offers a treasure chest of tips and techniques, here are four quick tips …..

  1. Invest time before negotiating to ensure that you are well prepared. Know your topic; be clear about the issues; define where you can and can’t make concessions; anticipate the needs and concerns of the other party
  2. During the early stages of the negotiation, be persuasive when you are putting your case forward. Sell your points – show the other party why it is in their interests to agree with you. Present a compelling case that is supported with the facts or figures that can justify why your proposal is a fair one
  3. Listen carefully during the negotiation and ask questions to ensure you understand the other party and what they are wanting to achieve. What’s important to them, what are their priorities? Clarify their needs and concerns – and then show how what you are proposing will address these issues.
  4. Negotiation is not about making concessions – it is about trading them. You attach a “quid pro quo” – and make a concession that is conditional upon gaining something fair in return. Be careful of making concessions too quickly …… or you may be seen as desperate. However, if you wait too long before making some type of concession, you risk losing goodwill and creating frustration in the other party. Although some persistence is admirable, so too is flexibility as a negotiator


If your company is looking for a Negotiation Skills course, visitNegotiation Training Melbourne