Executive Negotiation Seminars: What Is Negotiation? Preparation Is the Key

Executive Negotiation Seminars What Is Negotiation? Preparation Is the Key

We all negotiate every day. But what is negotiation? You can think of negotiation seminars in many ways, such as:

  • Two or more people interacting to reach an agreement
  • Give and take to make a deal
  • A form of persuasive communication
  • A means to satisfy your interests with the help of another

These are all fairly traditional definitions. A couple of others that I like are:

  • Joint problem solving (the win-win approach)
  • A game we play to get what we want

This last one is the definition I like best of all. Like any game, negotiation seminars should be fun. There are some rules, though there are a lot more guidelines than firm rules. There are negotiation seminars strategies and tactics you can learn, as well as counter-tactics for every tactic.

Negotiation is partly a game of luck. However, as the old saying goes, luck is what happens when negotiation seminars preparation meets opportunity. Thus, you can shape your luck. Most experts agree that negotiation seminars are the single most important determinant of negotiating success. And yet so many wannabe negotiators choose to wing it!

Negotiation is also a game of skill. In fact, the more negotiation seminars skill you develop, the less you are at the mercy of chance.

Some people who attend negotiation seminars hope to learn the secret to being a master negotiator. Unfortunately, there is no secret. There is only a body of guidelines, principles, strategies, tactics, and skills to learn and practice. There is also psychology and an understanding of human behavior. And, of course, there are negotiation seminars communication and interpersonal skills. None of these is a magic bullet. You must practice and improve in all of these areas.

As you become more adept your negotiated outcomes will improve. Sometimes you will find that one masterstroke makes a huge difference. More often, you will use a combination of negotiation seminars skills to make incremental improvements in your negotiating ability. For example, many of my negotiation seminars students are amazed to find that simply by learning one simple technique - such as making a more aggressive first offer or counteroffer than they normally would - they can achieve greater outcomes in all of their negotiations.

You can study negotiation seminars for the rest of your life. On the plus side, you can also reap the benefits of these improved outcomes for the rest of your life. Given that you negotiate every day, this can add up to a fantastic sum. So play the game and have fun!

Negotiation is also a process. The process begins the moment you perceive a need you cannot satisfy on your own. As you will need help from someone else, you must get him to agree. You may not even have identified who this person is yet. At this point your negotiation seminars have begun, whether you realize it or not - you are in the critical preparation stage of the negotiation. How do you prepare? Here's a partial checklist.

  • Gather information. Learn as much as you can about the subject of your negotiation, your industry and business environment, and your negotiation seminars counterpart.
  • Decide what you want. Once you've determined what you think you want, ask yourself why you want it. After asking yourself why a few times you may realize you need something else after all. You must be clear about your real interests.
  • You will often find that you have multiple interests. Prioritize these into those items you must have, those you are willing to bargain for, and those that would be nice but not necessary.
  • How much are you willing to pay? What is your goal price, and what is your walk away point? What concessions can you make, and when?
  • Assess your alternatives. If you cannot close the deal with your counterpart, how will you satisfy your interests? What is your Plan B?
  • Determine what you bring to the table. What do you have that your counterpart might want? List everything, tangible (money, products, service) and intangible (brand, reputation, emotional needs).
  • What strategies and tactics might you use in the negotiation?
  • Anticipate your counterpart's negotiating style, strategy, and tactics.
  • What does the other party want from you? What are his priorities? Does he have a hidden agenda?
  • Formulate some options or possible solution to your negotiating problem that will satisfy your interests as well as your counterpart's. Be prepared to discuss them.

The Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." In other words, preparation is the key to victory in battle. The same can be said of negotiation.

Perhaps there is a secret after all - Preparation. Most people do not prepare much for a negotiation, and many do not prepare at all. Do you see an opportunity here?