Civil Sector & (I)NGOs: Communication

Successful Negotiations

What do I want from you? What do you want from me? Is it compatible? Appropriate? Feasible? Manageable? Useful for the beneficiaries?

A negotiation is when two or more parties discuss the terms of a transaction in view of reaching an agreement. The matter being negotiated should bring benefits to the individuals present and especially to those they represent. The outcomes of the negotiation, based on a commitment or contract, may manifest now or later, directly or indirectly. The mutually acceptable results, be they tangible or intangible gains, will fulfil needs that are similar or divergent. The substance of the negotiation, in any case, brings the parties together in a zone of interest that is at least partly shared.

The perception of benefits is subjective and situational. The negotiating parties often have constraints and limited negotiating power. Individual negotiators have to make strategic efforts and tactical moves that will lead to outcomes deemed successful by the stakeholders they represent. Furthermore, there may be pressure to produce a result that will be evaluated by third-parties as successful or not (by the press or general public for example).

Negotiations have mostly three phases: preparation, bargaining, and follow-up. The first two in particular are the focus of this seminar. We study the game set and techniques of negotiations. We simulate situations where the participants put their skills to the test. We also develop the psychological and behavioral strengths conducive to successful negotiations.

The training hones the skills of negotiators, also from an intercultural perspective:

  • Components of a negotiation
  • Baking the cake and cutting it
  • Win-win; win-lose; lose-lose - the bottom line or BATNA
  • Defining the territory and what is at stake from both / all sides
  • Naming points of contention and actual / potential conflicts
  • Defining end-goal and sub-objectives, players and game rules
  • Defining needs and interests; selecting strategies and tactics
  • Setting criteria and measurements of success
  • Setting the agenda for the bargaining event
  • Power issues and other variables: moves and counter-moves
  • Communication styles for trust-building
  • Reaching agreement.