Like it or not, you are a negotiator
Roger Fisher and William Ury, say that negotiation is a fact of life –“You discuss with your Boss, you try to agree with a stranger on a price for a house, two lawyers try to settle a lawsuit arising from a car accident, a group of oil companies plan a joint venture exploring for offshore, a city official meets with union leaders to avert a strike – All these are negotiations”.
According to City Press dated 24.08.2009: “For most job seekers, the art of negotiation comes into play at two specific times in their careers: during an interview and at their performance evaluation”
Some negotiations, also, operate on a grand scale, with discussions about company, cars, relocation, etc. But most of us focus on one issue which is salary.
What do I mean by above? Everyone negotiates something everyday!
Now what is negotiation?
There are numerous definitions and let’s look at few below:
Negotiation is a form of decision making in which two or more parties talk with one another in an effort to resolve their opposing interests... a process by which a joint, decision is made by two or more parties. (Pruitt 1981)
Negotiation is a process for resolving conflict between two or more parties, whereby both or all modify their demands to achieve a mutually acceptable, compromise. - A process of adjusting both parties’ views of their ideal outcome to an attainable outcome. (Kennedy et al 1987).
Recurrent themes: are evident in all the different definitions allowing the following elements to be Identified as core to negotiations, it is a verbal interactive process, involving two or more parties, who are seeking to reach an agreement, over a problem or conflict of interest between them and in which they seek as far as possible to preserve their interests, but adjust their views and positions - in the joint effort to achieve an agreement.
Stages of negotiation process
There are a number of ways to describe the various procedures followed by negotiators. However, we believe that most negotiations can be seen as a loosely ordered sequence of six distinct stages or phases which can be presented in the following simple format:
You cannot afford to face negotiations, been unprepared.
- Developing Strategy
Sit down and think about strategies that you can employ during the process.
- Getting started
Agree on rules of the game.
- Building Understanding
Teams or parties build rapport.
Start the process and apply the strategies- be prepared to constantly modify your plans.
It is clear that with the economic meltdown coupled with other life challenges, we will need more skills or tools to use as a guide before we embark on any process of negotiation. During the month of March 2009, I was tuned to a radio station and I heard the Secretary General of COSATU saying that this year’s negotiations will be the most difficult ones; therefore, negotiators cannot afford to, not prepare and/or expect challenges. The above six stages comes handy and as Fisher and Ury say, we “day-to- day negotiators” may apply it at home, social setting and workplace activities.
Conclusion: In our next series, we will zoom into “Getting to YES Negotiating Agreement without Giving In”. The Sub-themes will be: The Problem, The Method, Yes But and Conclusion. So watch the space!