In simplest terms, negotiation is a discussion between two or more disputants who are trying to work out a solution to their problem. When parties negotiate, they usually expect give and take.

Negotiation underpins the interactions of almost everyone whether in groups or organisations. 

The Main approaches to Negotiation:

  • Distributive approach (win/lose scenario) 
  • Integrative approach (win/win scenario)

Distributive Basics  Distributive negotiation is appropriate in “divide the pie” situations, when there is a fixed amount of resources and whatever one party gains, the other party loses. Usually it’s employed when the parties don’t know each other and don’t believe they will need to develop a relationship with each other for use in the future. A distributive approach to negotiation is usually what we encounter when we make a purchase.  Distributive Tactics  In distributive bargaining, it’s best to keep information to yourself while trying to get information out of the other party. Let them make the first offer, since this lets you know what they’re willing to give up. Do tell them about alternatives you have, such as competing offers for what you’re selling, or interest in a product that competes with the one they’re selling if you’re the buyer. But be willing to make concessions in order to reach a realistic outcome. We use the two types of negotiation described above all the time. Occasionally, these two different forms of negotiation even overlap. By understanding their nature, we will be better prepared when faced with different situations. By learning more, we can improve both our interpersonal and professional relationships, through an increased awareness of the negotiation process utilised in our everyday lives.

How to master the art of Negotiation?

Successful negotiation is an art form that comes naturally to some, but must be learned by most. A skilled negotiator needs to demonstrate at least 10 essential traits: Empathy, Responsibility, Respect, Flexibility, Fairness, Personal Integrity, Patience, Self discipline, Humour, and Stamina.

1.     Skilled negotiators are well prepared.

2.     Skilled negotiators are skilled communicators.

3.     Skilled negotiators ask good questions.

4.     Skilled negotiators are emotionally neutral.

5.     Skilled negotiators find pain points and solve them.

6.     Skilled negotiators close the deal.

In the real world, we win some battles and lose others. It’s important that we learn to deal with the frustration and discouragement associated with the lost battles to become more effective in the battles of tomorrow.