By Kelty D.S.tapleton
What Is Negotiation And The Five Stages of Negotiation
If I told you that there was one skill that if learned, would help you get whatever it is you want? Within reason of course. I imagine you would respond a lot like I did when I was asked that very same question. “Well, let’s get started!”, was my response and I couldn’t find out fast enough what this one thing was. I admit I was a little disappointed at first when I was told the answer was learning the art of negotiating. Negotiating? At this time when I heard the word negotiation, the first thought that came to my head was a man talking through a loud speaker trying to convince a bank robber to let his hostages go. It seems silly now, but that really was what went through my mind. That said, I didn’t understand how negotiating could be used in all different areas of life and that by learning how to properly negotiate, this was a skill that could help me just about every single day in one way or another.
So, what exactly is negotiating anyway? To put it in the simplest terms, negotiatio is a way in which two or more people settle their differences. The main goal of a negotiation is too come to a resolution that everyone can live with, otherwise known as a win-win resolution. In order for this is to happen, all parties involved have to be fair and willing to give up a little for the good of everyone involved. In a nutshell, it is more less the principles of fairness, seeking equal benefit for all while maintaining a relationship are the main keys to any successful negotiation. Different and specific forms of negotiations are used in many different situations anywhere from international affairs, the legal system all the way down to individual argumentd or domestic affairs. However, no matter what type of negotiation may be taking place, there are five stages that should take place in order for a negotiation to have the cleanest and most harmonious negotiation. These five stages and a brief explanation as to the role they play are as follows:
1.Preparation- Preparation is always a smart thing to do before anything important, and this is no different when it comes to negotiation. First and foremost, the parties involved need to decide when and where the meeting will take place. It never hurts to set a limited time-scale before hand to prevent the arguing to drag on longer than it has to. Prior to entering into a negotiation, make sure to write down all the pertinant facts so that you don’t forget to bring up anything important. It is also a good idea to go into the negotiation well aware of your bottom line and what you are prepared to give up and what you will not and stick to them… so long as they are fair.
2. Discussion- During this stage, each party puts forward the case as they see it, such as their understanding of the situation, for example. Three skills that are absolutely key to this stage are questioning, listening and clarifying. It never hurts to take notes during this part of the negotiation in case their is need for further clarification. Out of the three key skills, listening is probably the most impotant and this is a mistake that is made all too often, especially if the discussion starts to get heated. It is never a good idea to say too much and listen too little. Not only does it give you the disadvantage of not understanding the other parties point of view, people are much more likely to cooperate when they feel their feelings are being listened to and understood. And last but definitely least always remember that each side should have an equal opportunity to present their case. That is the only way in which a fair and proper negotiation can take place.
3. Clarifying Goals- From the discussion the interests, points of view and goals of each party need to be made clear. One thing that makes this helpful oftentimes is to list these factors in order of importance and priority. Clarification is an essential part of negotiating because through this it is often possible to identify or establish some common ground, which makes a win-win situation much more plausible.
4. Negotating Towards a Win-Win Outcome- A win-win outcome is the goal of all negotiations and occurs when all negotiating parties feel like they have gained something positive from the process. Although it may not always be possible when negotiating, it should always be the outcome strived for.
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. Compromises are often positive alternatives which can often achieve greater benefit for all concerned compared to holding to the original positions.
5 Agreement- \And finally, if a negotiation is successful than an agreement is reached. An agreement that everyone can live with and that everyone feels good about! It can only be achieved when everyone involved viewpoints and interests have been taken into consideration. Always remember to keep and open mind so that you can achieve an acceptable solution. The agreement needs to be clear so that everyone involved leaves the negotiation knowing exactly what has been decided.
Agreement can be achieved once understanding of both sides’ viewpoints and interests have been considered.
It is essential to for everybody involved to keep an open mind in order to achieve an acceptable solution. Any agreement needs to be made perfectly clear so that both sides know what has been decided.
If I told you right now that I could teach you one skill, and you could learn most of the overall foundation and start working this skill in a matter of a moments what would you say? I know when I was asked that same question I said something along the lines of “Well don’t waste another minute! Tell me!” I was almost disappointed to heat the answer, “Negotiation’. Up until this conversation, when I heard the word negotiation the first thing that would come to my mind was a man yelling through a loud speaker to a man who is about to jump off the top floor of a building. “Stop! Your life is worth so much more than this. We can talk about all of this. Don’t jump!” This or a scenario very close to it was what went through my mind when I heard that word Negotiation. He began to explain to me the very basics and within a couple of minutes I was interested and when he asked if I wanted more information I very enthusiastically accepted. And I am so glad I did.