If you're interested in the benefits of possessing good negotiations skills chances are you are a business person, seeking to improve your skills, a timid person, fed up with being at the bottom of the food chain, or the type of person who just likes learning new things.
Few people actually realize negotiations skills are nearly an everyday part of life. The only thing which defines negotiation from "cutting a deal" is the perceived importance to the affected parties.
What exactly are good negotiations skills? We'll explore this question in a manner a little more serious than negotiating "You can go out Friday night if you mow the yard".
A negotiator must be intelligent, which doesn't mean you're of Einstein IQ. Sometimes just the opposite is true. A person must be intelligent enough to realize they are either ignorant of the subject, which is nothing to be ashamed about, [nobody knows it all except a fool,] or their knowledge is dwarfed by their opponent. He or she must, however, have negotiations skills. One must be willing to research and perform his due diligence in order to understand the subject and be able to intelligently understand and converse about opponent's proposals.
In order to become a good negotiator one must not only understand human emotions and behavior, but be able to perceive what emotion the opponent is experiencing, when they're experiencing it and why. In theory negotiations skills should always be void of emotions, the "can't take it personal" attitude, should always rule.
However, who is negotiating; humans and humans have emotions, which some can control or hide better than others, but still experience. By analyzing your opponent, which a sharp negotiator will have a plan in place to extract reactions to certain questions or negotiations skills, you will be able to put yourself in your opponent's place which could grant you insight to his motives and how to address them.
A great negotiator will maintain a reputation of being honest and fair, which doesn't mean weak. This person will also have strong negotiations skills. Many inexperienced or arrogant people placed in the position of negotiating a matter or contract will maintain a staunch position of wanting everything their way, from all their demands to the temperature the air conditioner is set, which only creates an adversarial and confrontational atmosphere. Simple issues will become mammoth obstacles and it quickly becomes a "I'll take my ball and go home" situation where everyone digs their heels in and refuses to bend.
The great negotiator with good negotiations skills will understand to arrive at a position both parties can live with. He must ultimately present a win - win situation and do everything in his power to prevent a confrontational atmosphere from being created.
I was once involved in a set of contract negotiations skills where the situation had become stalemated. The ground rules were any request for a recess had to be made on an alternating basis, in other words if the company was granted a recess they could not request another one until the union had used one.
I was taken off guard when the union chief negotiator suddenly requested an unexpected recess, which could have been understood as part of his negotiations skills. Then we just sat at the table doing nothing. When the company human resource manager returned to the table the union spokesman asked if he was alright. The man looked surprised and nodded his head yes. The union spokesman replied "Good, I could tell you weren't feeling well so I called a recess."
"I ate something bad at lunch," the man replied. From that point on, because one negotiator displayed a human concern for the others well being over the importance of the contract talks, the logger head was broken and negotiations were quickly resolved.