Negotiation is a common practice to strategy and business, given the shortages of resources and skills required for the achievement of an (or more) objectives! But to negotiate something of value, usually, requires a special set of skills and a mindset able to adapt quickly and respond to the volatile conditions of a current negotiation process.

The Fine Art Of Negotiation

Negotiation has a close relation with strategy and the art of war as Carl von Clausewitz, Marcus Aurelius, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, have taught us. That why its basic principle, derived from basic strategic principles, aiming at gaining particular resources and assets! The fact is, though, that most of the times resemble, a lot, to dancing the tango with a reluctant partner!

What Is A Negotiation?

In the modern era of the limited assets, resources, capital and able human capital it is expected from you to be ready to enter a procedure of negotiation, in order to achieve tangible or intangible assets for your company, group, etc. Basically, negotiation is a:

dialogue between two or more people or parties, intended to reach an understanding, resolve point of difference, or gain advantage in outcome of dialogue, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests of two people/parties involved in negotiation process. Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise. (From Wikipedia, verbatim!)

Therefore, negotiation is basically a communication between parties, seeking a common understating! Usually, the most negotiation processes fall either in a loophole or to a closure in which the outcomes are not usually the required ones! For this reason, in modern business, it is necessary for someone to have a general guide, in order to negotiate in his/her favor and produce the required results!

What Going On With The Communication Clause?

Most of the people, in business, do not realize, the negotiation process is not (should not be!) a situation of adversity, but rather a cold reading process of the intentions and wants of the people on the other part of the table. This is the most basic step since the correct realization of a situation is the key to unlocking and resolve this situation to your benefit (most of the times) or with good results!

Bur realization, means a good sense of communication and most people, especially in business, fail to understand the value of the correct and accurate communication, especially when the stakes are high! Communication is:

is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures. (From Wikipedia)

But this definition, cloak one of the most valuable and interesting components of communication, the one the negotiation relies upon; the reaction! And exactly in handling the responses, objections and misunderstandings of the other party lie the secret of a successful communication. If you have no reaction at all, chances are, that your message does not get across and nothing you considered as a valuable piece of information has been understood in the same way from the other party! Especially, an expert negotiator, navigate and orchestrate all the process towards getting the results he/she wants!

What Negotiation, Really Is, And How Can Be Comprehended?

Negotiation, for me, is the art (practice, discipline, technique, etc) of giving to the other party(s) what he/she/they really want without compromise or give away (present or future) assets belonging to you. If everything were in abundance and everything may be wanted for a business operation were freely available, negotiation, would not have any meaning!

The process starts to have a meaning because of the present business situations, which requires flexible strategies for gaining or use assets and resources needed to achieve your objectives. And here comes the negotiation process!

The Negotiation Process – The Fine Art Of Negotiation

In order to succeed in a negotiation process, you need a lot of experience, but basically, you need to understand and comprehend clearly the fine art of negotiation! The art of negotiation involves a lot of studying, practicing and experiencing the swift changes of moods in an everyday negotiation practice (such as what movie you might want to see with your friends, where to go on Saturday night, or what do you want to eat!). But, also, involves the clear thinking concise guidelines and the management mindset that would permit you to achieve a favorable outcome (for your company, group, team, friends, etc).

A successful negotiation process usually involves:

  1. A mentality of win-win and respect for the other party. You cannot enter this procedure with a mentality win-lose, because, even if you would be successful the outcomes, most of the times, create so much negativity and animosity that would jeopardize your future activities! Besides, is not wise to kill the golden goose just for gaining temporary goals and objectives. A skillful negotiator never “cripples” his/her opponent because he/she knows that the today’s opponent might be the tomorrow’s friend or associate!
  2. A strategy and clearly defined tactics! A clearly defined business strategy with specific outputs, understood by all the agents involved in the negotiation process, quarantines the success of this procedure.
  3. Clear S.M.A.R.T. objectives, carefully thought of, designed and specifically customized for this particular negotiation process. In this framework, you (the negotiator or negotiating team) needs strict limits as far as your intentions and wants concerns, as well as the clear expectation of the results expected to be gained!
  4. Correct “reading” of the situation as it is evolving dynamically, a good sense of timing as far as what asset can be leveraged or not and knowledge on when you should stop the procedure or continue the procedure with different terms or in a different time or context frame!
  5. Awareness of the results derived at each moment and prompt changing of the chosen negotiation strategy, until you reach the results you would consider as acceptable!

Question: Do you think you can use this negotiation process in your everyday transaction? Do you think you can practice this art of negotiation in your personal or professional life?