Negotiation skills, in essence, refer to the ability to bargain with someone having aims, needs, and viewpoints different than ours, such that a common ground is discovered and a consensus is reached. Understanding the fact that parties looking forward to the settlement of differences are all aiming to achieve the best possible end-results for their own self or the organization they represent is fundamental to the utilization of negotiation skills.
People assume that negotiation is just one’s ability to get their way. Whereas, in reality it is all about how you get along with other people. One’s inclination towards being fair, maintaining relationships and seeking mutual benefits are keys to successful outcome of his negotiation skills.
Why is negotiation important
In the deal-based economy of today’s world, there is a growing need for companies to collaborate with each other. As a consequence of the varying needs, wants, aims, opinions, and beliefs of the parties brought together, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable. Yet, individuals fail to realize the importance of understanding as well as prioritizing the application of negotiation skills to the successful operation of their businesses.
Having individuals with extraordinary negotiation skills can contribute to the organization’s success because:
- Good negotiation skills help build relationships because the aim is to foster goodwill despite difference in interests.
- Good negotiation skills deliver quality solutions that also last longer, instead of short-term solutions that fail to satisfy either of the parties completely. This is because it enables you to make concessions such that they may be of little importance to you but it gives the other party something that means a lot to them.
- Good negotiation skills also help in avoiding future conflicts and problem by leaving both parties equally satisfied with no barriers to communication for the future. Hence, they are willing to work together again in the future.
How to improve negotiation skills
Whether or not people are aware of it, they spend a significant time of their day using their negotiation skills either in formal transactions or informal routine interactions. Therefore, taking the following measures can help you improve negotiation skills and successfully achieve your objectives:
- Prepare in advance. Instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, it is better to think about the deal you want to make in advance and make amendments to your approach according to the particular situation. Negotiation is often believed to be a competition over attainment of a fixed resource. Therefore, instead of negotiating by instinct, it is always better to figure out and focus on the real need of the opposing party in order to come up with a mutually satisfying solution.
- Improve all other skills that complement negotiation skills. In order to have the ideal negotiation skills, one must have excelled a few other skills drawn from a diverse range of disciplines such as strategizing, planning, communication, persuasion, teamwork and many others. Improvement in these is ought to bring about improvement in negotiation skills as well.
- Training programs. Since negotiation requires face-to-face interactions, reading books alone cannot bring about much improvement. You must engage in some training programs that allows you to take part in role plays as well as feedback discussions to help you improve.