Occasionally, our company is involved in the negotiation. Issues that often call for negotiation include contracts, price reviews, salary negotiations, supplier engagements, and so forth. One of the single most important steps before the commencement of negotiation is choosing members who participate. Although some negotiations require one participant, there are many instances where negotiations require more than one member from our company. When such a case arises, a team of negotiators is usually selected to represent the company. Selection of team members is not done haphazardly. Good negotiators make good bargains for our company. Since negotiations are often difficult, choosing team members is not usually taken lightly. To ensure that the team selected comprise the best negotiators, there is a particular procedure that is followed.
Usually, the first step during the selection of team members who are going to represent the company in the negotiating process is clearly defined roles as well as responsibilities for the team members to be selected. The roles specified for each team member regards specific responsibilities during the negotiation and the expected deliverables. The second step involves clear identification of the experience, talents, and competencies that are required for every role in the participants taking part in the negotiation (Kresic, 2013). The third step in the selection process is to select the team members based on their abilities, skills, and experience. During the selection process, the strengths and weaknesses of each team member are considered and assessed before they are eventually appointed to join the negotiating team. The idea is usually to assign roles to each team member to perform roles that are in line with their strengths. In some situations, there are team members who are qualified to play more than one role in the team. However, they are only assigned to play one role based on the one they can best perform. Once the process of forming negotiating team is over, the next step is to ensure that each team member understands their roles, expectations, and responsibilities clearly.
Although there is a specific process for choosing negotiators, there is no process for training negotiators. Investigations conducted by ElShenawy (2010) suggest that training has a positive impact on the negotiators. The investigator found out that the negotiators performance improves a lot after training. It is, therefore, important for the company to come up with a process that can be used to guide the training of the negotiators. The first step in choosing a negotiation process is to identify the kinds of negotiations which the company is involved with. The company should come up with a long list of possible negotiations it has been involved with in the past, currently, and negotiations they anticipate to be involved with in the future. The second step should be ranking the probability of being engaged in negotiations in the future. For example, if the company finds that it is likely to be involved in salary negotiations with current and new employees in future, it can consider training for salary negotiations as among the top priority. Similarly, if it is often involved in negotiating contracts with suppliers, it should consider training for contract negotiation a priority. The third step is to identify individuals who are often involved with specific negotiations ranked among the top. The fourth step is to train each in negotiation skills applicable in areas they usually involved with. The fifth step is to evaluate whether the training they underwent improved their negotiation skills. If there is a need to hone the negotiation skills, they can be further trained.
Since learning to negotiate effectively do not come naturally to every person, it is very important that individuals who are usually involved with negotiation undergo training so that they can acquire negotiation skills. Given that there is no existing training manual, the company ought to develop one. The training manual should comprise traits that are regarded as good for negotiation. According to Watchel (2016), negotiators ought to have peoples skills, listening skills, and planning skills. Negotiators ought to be taught how their behavior can influence others. They should also understand that people have unique ways of communicating which may not be necessarily their way. The negotiators should be trained to know that to be effective in their negotiation; they need to know how to change their communication style to suit the needs of the listener. Further, negotiators ought to identify which of the four Disc Dimensions of Behavior traits: dominant, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness (Wachtel, 2016) best describe them. Another important skill that company should consider in training negotiators is listening. Listening skills is important because that is where the negotiator gets to learn about the interests of the other party. Most people have been known to listen so that they can reply and not listening so that they can understand. Every good listener not only as questions but also listen to the words. However, for one to ask questions Watchtel (2016) pointed out that the person must understand where the questions are going. This is because most people who ask questions in a random manner may be distrusted. He also pointed out that it is important to ask the other person if he accepts to be asked questions. Then, the third step is to tell the other party the information the negotiator wants to know. The various levels of listening which the negotiators need to be trained to be conversant with include selective, responsive, and playback.
Another important skill that negotiators need to acquire in training is the planning skill. The negotiators ought to be taught how to plan before beginning the process of negotiation. Whatchel (2016) suggests that a detailed plan before negotiation involve trying to find out what the other party may want to know, and the reasons. This can be done by trying to establish the other partys negotiating style, knowing teams interests, and getting to know other partys interests. It also involves a prior understanding of what is of lesser value that can be compromised at the expense of gaining something of a higher value. Another important thing is to also know in advance what is least acceptable.
Our company is often involved in various negotiations. Given that the outcome of the negotiation process means good or bad for the company, it is not a matter that is taken lightly. Consequently, the company performs some activities before the actual negotiation process begins in line with the views of Root (2017). Before entering negotiations, the company do a lot of planning. The planning is used to prepare the discussion with the hope of gaining an advantage by the time the negotiation process commence. The venue of the negotiation is identified in the planning stage because it is a critical element. In most cases, the company insist on getting a neutral place. A neutral place is good because none of the parties is familiar with the venue and it lacks an intimidation factor. If it is impossible to negotiate in a neutral site and the other party insists on their offices, the company usually identifies another venue within the other partys compound such as a board room or conference room to remove their office familiarity or advantage. The second item is what spending a lot of time defining what the company want. Often, the outcome of the negotiation process should be for the company. For example, if it is price negotiation for some supplies, the company would want a lower price or extended periods of payment.
Besides knowing what the company wants, our company also wish to know what the other party was in the negotiation process. Although it can be difficult to know what the other party wants, the usual approach is to estimate. If it is salary, the other party might want a pay increment that is consistent with experience. After knowing what it wants and what the other party wants, our company then decides what it has to compromise or offer during negotiation. The company gathers proof of what it can use during the bargaining process such as statistics, charts, and graphs. The company also decide on the minimum offer they will accept in the negotiation. Another critical activity the company undertakes before beginning negotiation is to select the negotiating team. This is sometimes done earlier so that the team takes part in the negotiation planning process. Richardson-Gustafson (2017) added that it is important to conduct some research to not only learn about the other company but also the individuals who will take part in the negotiation process. Some individuals who will take part in negotiation process might be experienced or have been involved in previous negotiations, and they won. It is important to know the objectives of the company as well as the objectives of the other party. The company has objectives in every negotiation process. These objectives need to be clearly outlined and known to all the negotiating team members. When the team members do not know the objectives of the company, they might negotiate lower terms that are not in line with the objectives of the company. The information that the other party need to be given should be prepared in advance as well as prior preparation of the meeting agenda. Certain information needs to be concealed lest the other party gets to know and use it against the company during the negotiation process.
The negotiating team is usually sent to participate in negotiation with the other party with the hope that the outcome will be for our company. Whether the outcome is favorable or not, there is usually no formal process of evaluating the negotiation process starting from the planning stage. After the negotiation, everything is put aside and the focus shifts to the outcome. However, it is very important to review how the negotiation went from planning up to the outcome. This is very important in many ways. If the outcome is favorable, it helps to know what contributed to the successful negotiation so that the same or enhanced strategy is used in future negotiations. Similarly, if the outcome is not favorable, it is very important to learn what went wrong so that it cannot be repeated in future negotiations.
An unfavorable outcome is also another opportunity to find out what the negotiating team lacks to become successful. There might be a need to train the negotiating team. Further, the process of selecting the negotiating team might have been flawed. All these outcomes will act as lessons that need to be corrected in future negotiations. Craver (2011) asserted that post-negotiations evaluations are very important because they not only help parties to know how they are doing but also how they can do better. He pointed out that individuals who wish to improve on negotiation skills ought to take time and inquire how they did the previous negotiation. If they did it well and the outcome was for their side, they need to note what contributed to their success. But if the outcome was negative, they should also note what contributed to the unfavorable outcome. They will then choose to train on areas they find weak in or avoid certain negotiation tactics that did not work in the future. Among the questions, Craver suggests they should ask to include the way the different stages of negotiation developed, their level of preparation, and whether there was a rapport with the other party during preliminary stage. An unfavorable outcome may sugg...
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