Negotiation skills

This page introduces the approach to negotiation, which can be useful for a number of work situations including arranging flexible working hours.

An awareness of positive ways to approach negotiation can be useful for many work situations.

Good negotiation skills can be useful to:

There are various approaches to negotiation but usually the most effective line to take in situations, is the win-win (sometimes called integrative) approach. A win-win approach is particularly important for creating stable long-term relationships with people. It’s therefore considered the most effective approach to adopt for negotiations at work. In these negotiations an attempt is made to come to an agreement that benefits both sides.

How to adopt a win-win approach

Preparation is important and will put you in a strong position before you start to negotiate. Consider the following:

Objective (desired outcome)

  • what do I want to get out of this negotiation?
  • what do I think the other person wants to get out of this negotiation?

Trades

  • is there something the other person wants that I can trade with them – in return for something I want?

Alternatives

  • if I don’t achieve my objective, do I have an alternative request?
  • what alternative do I think the other person may be able to offer?

Relationship with negotiator

  • what relationship do I have with the other person?
  • will it affect the current negotiation in a positive or negative way?
  • do I think there are any hidden agendas?

Anticipated result of negotiation

  • do I think this will be affected by the results of a previous negotiation?

Consequences

  • what are the consequences for me if this negotiation is successful - or it fails?
  • what are the consequences for the other person?

Possible solutions (compromises)

Based on all of the above, what compromises are negotiable?

For a win-win approach to work you need to be:

  • rational
  • not overly emotional
  • assertive, not aggressive
  • prepared to listen to the other side
  • professional

For long negotiations it may be important to keep a written record of the progress of the negotiation as well as the result. You may need a signed written record of the details of the agreement.

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