Negotiation is neither an art nor a science. It is a skill, which gets perfect with years of practice. In any corporate setup, three fields which require the most negotiation skills are Human Resource, Marketing and Sales department. These profiles require interaction with stakeholders on a regular basis and a tact approach to the same is essential for success. Consequently, MBA courses should focus more on teaching the negotiation skills.
If you are currently pursuing an MBA course and are keen on exploring the nuances of negotiation as a marketer or an HR professional, below are a few tips that you should follow:
In the process of negotiation, the difference between focusing on interests and focusing on positions is understated but essential. So, determining these interests requires research and creativity.
Interests, whether you’re dealing with partners or prospective employees, should be mutually beneficial – underlying the fact that both parties might, in fact, need each other. It would be ideal to look at negotiation as brainstorming for a variety of potential solutions to resolve conflicts.
Always look at the person across the table as a partner, not an opponent. Psychologically, this puts each party on the same team, bringing more confidence in a professional negotiation. The communication space now is based on agreement rather than giving or receiving, thereby affecting the mind-set of both the parties.
Begin without assumptions and negotiate for what’s easy first. It is because prospects usually offer to take smaller affirmations before going for bigger, more lucrative orders or contracts.
Whether you’re recruiting an MBA graduate or looking to partner, getting a foot in the door can be the start of long-term, more profitable partnership opportunities in the future. More or less, a small win can help prove the worth of future benefits.
As you align your interest with your fellow negotiator, understand your priorities and theirs to uncover underlying interests and determine mutually beneficial outcomes.
Thinking about what matters most to the other party can also give you an idea of what kind of questions he or she might ask. And you can prepare responses for those questions, gathering the data to support your answers in advance.
So you are ready for a negotiation? Great! What about the people sitting next to you at the table? Even if you’re the one doing all of the talking, also prepare your colleagues who will be present for the negotiation.
Transparency is crucial here. So, your team should be briefed about any discussion that might arise during the negotiation.
A few things you can do to prepare your team are to set clear ground rules, discuss what is non-negotiable and let them ask questions.
Numbers are usually best left unsaid in verbal communication. Avoid ‘speaking’ numbers as it serves no purpose. It can come across as patronising and detrimental to the overarching need of the negotiation. Remember that people come first, numbers second.