A lot of new project team members have not received negotiations training. This seems especially true for young people. Moreover, a lot of people find negotiations training to be a difficult exercise, similar to public speaking. Much of the stress in the process is due to the fact that not a lot of negotiations training is done in the western business world.
Negotiating that is performed for an organization tends to be the responsibility of more experienced project managers. As usual, repetition can teach people to do anything better. Experienced negotiators know how to read the situation, they know what their position is and they can often estimate the position of their rival. While there is little to replace experience, companies should try to improve their organization skill set by negotiations training for more of the staff.
Negotiations training can be a very useful process for employees. Often specialized negotiations training courses can be found that provide education on topics ranging from adversarial negotiating to contract law and more. A lot of emotions can be involved in a negotiations training session so courses teach how to recognize and react to the situation. Of particular use are those courses which offer practice scenarios in which students can try out different negotiations training techniques. Useful structured negotiations training courses can be quite expensive and difficult to find, but they can improve staff ability rapidly.
Additional knowledge can be gained by reading various books on negotiations training. The Art of the Deal, by Donald Trump, has been very popular for more than 20 years. While readers may not become as effective as that author, there are many points that will help in future negotiations. These books also allow readers to reminisce about their past negotiations to imagine how various alternate negotiations training options may have been useful. The real trick, of course, is to gain abilities that can be applied later.
Some staff may find that they are not ready to be a negotiator and don't want to take on negotiations training. Even with negotiations training and experience, negotiating is simply not a skill for some people. Organizations should accept this fact and find those staff members for whom negotiating comes more easily. For very important and complex negotiations, organizations should consider hiring professional negotiators when necessary. Although this can be a costly endeavor, the results of a bad negotiation session are often far higher.
An effective approach can be to simply have junior staff participate in negotiations training. They can act as secretaries or silent partners. A lot of methods can be used by an organization to involve more staff in negotiations training. Perhaps installing hidden cameras in the meeting room can be arranged.
No discussion of negotiations training is complete without a review of ethics. Certain approaches, such as secretly recording a session may be unethical, or even illegal. Contract law is still fairly imprecise and is constantly changing. Large deals will often require review by legal professionals. Positions stated, even only in conversation, might be legally binding depending on the situation.
When the negotiations training is completed, organizations should have their staffs prepare a report describing the details of the negotiations training sessions. This information can be useful for future negotiators and for the project documentation file. Too often this kind of knowledge is lost or gathered late in the process resulting in significant gaps. Depending on the results of the project, this information can be of great use to future training projects.
Nearly everyone will negotiate for something significant in the future. If they can recognize their abilities, they can boost their negotiations training skills as necessary. Practice sessions, learning from others and formal courses can help to improve negotiations training abilities. Not everyone will be as successful as Donald Trump but basic negotiation improvements can pay dividends to any organization.