Developing negotiation techniques by seminar and training


Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Negotiation has been defined as " the process by which at least two parties with different needs and view points try to reach an agreement on a matter of mutual into root". People negotiate all the time. In some ways an individual negotiates at home, in the market, on the road and in the office. Negotiations take place between individuals, groups, parties, states, governments, employers and employees and organizations of common, competitive or conflicting interests. Achievements in many fields are fruits of successful negotiation. It is proposed to discuss here some important elements of negotiation behavior, tactics and strategy.
The various items of negotiation may be listed as those which you must get and those which you will give in lieu of something. For instance one may not reduce price but may consider favorable terms of pay net. There is a limit to flexibility and concessions that can be made. Therefore, concessions should be used sparingly. Each concession should move the negotiator towards his goal. Deadlock is difficult to avoid once the concessions are used up.
The negotiators should look for areas of common grounds and at the same time, should anticipate possible areas of conflict. In multilateral negotiations there may be other parties whose interests over-lap with your own and who can be influenced to support you on some areas. Once the- common grounds are identified negotiations on other points may be more specific and the currencies of exchange can then be better weighed. It must be remembered that two parties negotiate to gain and, therefore, a negotiation can be successful only if both parties gain something. Both parties are expected to negotiate fairly and ethically and in many cases it is useful to be explicit and confirm values which you share.
During a negotiation a steady pressure on the other party is desirable but provocation should not be made. Large initial demands improve the probability of success. Large concessions or early concessions should be avoided. Concessions should be readily made when reciprocal concessions are expected. Early concessions, unless reciprocated, will raise the other party's confidence and expectations.
The negotiator should know the other party's need, which he can satisfy. He should find this out early in the negotiation. He should listen with open mind and express appreciation and understanding of other party's viewpoints so that the opponent is encouraged to come out with his real need. The negotiator should be alert to other party's offer of exchange, which could satisfy one of his own needs. The following concessions will cost very little but they may get returns beyond all proportions in a negotiation: (a) listening attentively to what the other party has to say; (b) giving the other party the best explanation possible; (c) giving adequate proof of what you say; (d) nice treatment to the opponent; (e) assurance to the party that others are treated no better; (i) having some one at higher level in your organization commits himself to the satisfaction of the other party.
The negotiator should try to shape the other party's need priorities more closely to what he has to offer. You may pass information, which arouses the other party's awareness of a need. You then point out how this could be satisfied by you. A good result may be achieved by linking offers or proposals directly or explicitly to the other or party's expressed need. For effectively negotiation efforts should be concentrated on one or two strongest points rather than dilute arguments with a number of weaker point, which could be easily attacked by the opponent. The negotiator should present both sides of an issue as this increases his image as an objective and fair-minded person. His favored viewpoint should be presented last.
At times a final settlement of a well-agreed negotiation is avoided because the negotiator is not prepared to race the risk of saying 'yes'. The settlement is prevented or delayed, however, on some other excuse. By creating an atmosphere of trust and empathy a skilful negotiator tries to bring on the surface the negative consequence of the settlement feared by the other party and tries to remove or circumvent it. For instance, an agreement may be "initialed" by the parties negotiating but it could be subject to ratification within  a certain period, by the organizations which the parties represent.
In international or inter-culture negotiations the parties involved are from different background. Their ways of thinking, feeling and behaving and their values, beliefs and assumptions may be different. In such situations special care should be taken to ensure that the parties understand what is happening during the negotiation and should be able to react appropriately and adjust accordingly. In a negotiation between groups of different culture, the parties involved will have to go beyond what the are normally used to, in terms of adjusting and controlling the dynamics of interaction. For this purpose, frequent consultations among the team members are essential.
Inadequate time to gather, prepare and assess relevant information appear to be big challenge of negotiation. Again inadequate time to access resources and technically skilled people is another challenge. Poor coordination with other relevant party's not directly involved in the negotiations and poor coordination among team members as they are put together at the last minute are often treated as challenges. Moreover, urgent need by the domestic government for financial assistant and feeling of indifference by negotiator about the final terms of the agreement become a matter of challenge to negotiation. When negotiation is over it is found that there are other criteria's which are essential to meet the final agreement. We can mention that all clauses are negotiated fully, all texts are self-explanatory, all irrelevant language is trimmed away and all scenarios and implications are explored in detail. And there are no surprises
Negotiation is an art, which is developed through training. Awareness of need for in-depth preparation for negotiation is created by training. Skill for negotiation is of supreme importance for the preservation of political and economic independence of a nation.
Many of to-day's trade, tariff and strategic economic wars are won or lost on the negotiation table. Negotiations by unskilled or untrained persons may result in the loss of vital national interest. Even a faulty definition in an agreement can be disastrous. Expertise in negotiation can bring benefit beyond all proportions. Finally as objective maximum gain at minimum cost for both sides are achieved and ensured.