10 Negotiation Training Skills for Your Company’s Success
Putting a team through negotiation training is one thing, getting the desired results from that team during the important negotiations is another one. So how to combine the two and benefit from the program your company (or you) paid for? The point is, negotiations involve more than mechanical protocols and sequences of actions. Negotiations are interactions of people, often with opposing interests, with their unique personalities and preferences, and all invisible components that can destroy communication or make it successful are at work there. So while picking the negotiation training courses, keep an eye for what exactly they teach and select the best option available.
- Retaining the learned negotiation skills and implementing them in practice. Yes. Although not that obvious, the requirement to apply the learned skills habitually crowns the list of our tips. As mentioned, even the coolest training with negotiation pros will have little impact on your company if the new knowledge does not stick.
- Learning from past negotiation mistakes. Yes, learning from negative experiences is crucial. Whether some failed talks of your company will be discussed in training (under NDA), or the trainer will dissect some famous negotiations and show how they could be improved, this part should be taught. Then, even on their own, the trainees will know how to extract valuable information even from the bad examples.
- Including the hard-bargaining skills into training. Although negotiations are presented as a search for a mutually beneficial solution, often the other party will come to the table with intention of squeezing everything they can out of you, and then asking for some more. This is hard bargaining, aggressive and stubborn, and your team should be prepared to face it and deal with it on the go.
- Training on the topic of conflict of interests in negotiations. Sometimes it can happen, especially if one party is a high profile member of the company. The negotiating team has to find the balance between benefiting the company and following the demands of the company’s top representative. For sure, it is better to remove such members from negotiations altogether, but it is not always possible.
- Emotions and their role in negotiations. Emotions are a part of human nature, and it is unwise to exclude them from negotiations. Having the emotional experience means that the negotiator will better ‘read’ the opponents and will detect that something is going wrong even before it is worded. So basics of emotional intelligence are a must for a negotiator.
- Gauging emotions and controlling excessive emotions. Sometimes emotions can blur the perception of reality, and understanding them is a key to a sober mind. Learning to gauge their own emotions and bringing them down to a manageable level are teachable skills, so have them on your menu.
- Building rapport with the other party. The best way to negotiate is to ask serious and sincere questions, listen with empathy and involvement, and provide feedback with regard to the received information. True involvement is a great basis for establishing a connection. There are useful tips on how to build and establish this connection, so include it in your training plan.
- Training how to influence without formal or informal (but acknowledged) authority. Probably one of the trickiest skills that include a whole set of skills and steps of its own. However, once you have your team master it, they will be able to apply it both in and out of the context of the negotiations.
- Including role-playing in the training. Listening and discussing is one thing, doing it is another. Effective training should include a module of role games where trainees apply the skills and get feedback on whether they do it right.
- Having some evaluation system with measurable results in place. It is not a school and grades do not make a person good or bad. No way. But, having a scale that reflects how well each trainee internalized every skill is great, because it shows what areas need to be improved. Besides, when selecting team members for the important negotiations, you can put together a dream team where every member excels in some skill and complements other members. Such teams usually work wonders, mind that.