Showing posts with label non-verbal skills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non-verbal skills. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Learning the Art of Negotiation

Negotiation is something we do every day of our lives but we may not be overtly aware of it. We often think of negotiating contracts, wages and other business related concepts but we also negotiate for many small things like household chores and car maintenance. Learning negotiation skills in college or through your own personal reading can make a large difference in helping you get what you want while not compromising your values.

American society doesn’t provide enough daily experience negotiating like you might find in Europe or other parts of the world. People that go to the grocery story may negotiate the price, find deals, and look for other ways to save money. Even though just about anything can be negotiated Americans don’t often see it this way; the stated price is the only price. This is partly the problem with a nation accustomed to large department stores.

Despite 66% of people trying to negotiate big ticket items in the past 6-months, negotiation skills are still underdeveloped (Carrell & Manchise, 2011). Colleges typically don’t teach negotiation skills within their curriculum. Occasionally the topic may be included in a broader communication course but these fail to provide even the fundamentals.

Americans do engage in teamwork negotiations during the course of their employment and education that provides them with entry level platforms for work. Business graduates often learn negotiation by engaging in group assignments that require them to interact and create terms with others (Lawrence, 2002). There are some limitations on this negotiation learning if they have not been provided a level of information that helps them reflect on their negotiation styles.

Negotiation skills are necessary whether you are looking for a raise, lowering the cost on home repair, or seeking equality in a relationship. Americans don't have the same opportunities to engage in negotiation in recent decades as much as people from other nationalities. Negotiation skills can be improved by following a few tips that can help in solidifying your positions:

-Understand Your Initial and Final Position: Everyone has something they want and in an ideal situation they can get. However, this isn't likely to happen often. Knowing your initial position and your red line position will tell you when to start and stop negotiating. 

-Understand Your Goals: Understand what you want to accomplish in your work, life, or relationships. Having goals when entering negotiations will help you stay on track when things get confusing.

-Try Power With versus Power Over: There are times when power over is the only way to negotiate but this often leads to encampment and stubbornness of both powers. When both parties can horse trade to get what they want or compromise they are likely to soften their positions. 

-Use Your Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Skills: When negotiating people watch each other and look for clues and signs in the speech and impressions of others. Using strong verbal and non-verbal communication skills will improve upon the whole process of making breakthroughs and sewing a deal.

Carrell, M. & Manchise, L. (2011). Developing bartering skills: real world exercise for a negotiation course. Business Education Innovation Journal, 3 (2). 

Lawrence, C. (2002). Integrating writing and negotiation skills. Business Communication Quarterly, 65 (2).

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Turning Negotiations into Win-Win Situations

The world of negotiations requires subtle use of verbal and body language to effectively meet objectives. According to a paper by Yuxian Zhang (2013) negotiations is a process of coming to mutual benefit and reducing borders between sides. What we say and how we say it can impact the success of getting people to understand our point of view. Negotiations are all about sharing perspective and understanding each other’s needs. 

Language is the primary method of negotiating in business. A famous negotiator by the name of Cohen Herbert argues that negotiation is not about “winning by defeating the other party, but winning by getting what both parties want”. This is not possible if the language doesn’t draw people into a shared perspective. 

Robin Lakoff argues that there are three main principles in social linguistics that help to create politeness and shared perspective that are beneficial in negotiations:

-Don’t impost your beliefs or rewrite the affairs of others.
-Provide options and choices and let the other decide what to do.
-Treat each other with fairness and respect to create equality in the relationship.

The key is to understand others and ensure they understand you. It is more possible to do so when the negotiation environment is not testy or confrontational which closes down people’s openness to the perspective of other. To do this well requires the use of verbal and non-verbal cues. 

Verbal cues are often rooted in our word choices and verbs. Saying things like “you must” or “you are” keep the finger pointed in the other direction while works like “we are” or “we should consider” draw both sides into a shared perspective. Non-verbal cues are the facial expressions, clothing, environment, and body language that contribute to the perceived truthfulness and intent of other party. 

The impressions may be as subtle as a simple look or a brief impression. According to a Spanish philosopher by the name of Autauga, “the speaker’s eyes can tell you their inner world”.  When people are trying to interpret a message they often look for other clues even though they may not be wholly aware of them on a conscious level. Yet each impression they receive impacts the meaning of the total message. 

Moving beyond this report there is an important concept of perspective taking that makes its way throughout the entire negotiation process.  If a person cannot mentally reverse themselves and see the world through the opposing side’s view they will not be able to see their perspective nor find the right words that help them come to the same conclusions. It is nearly impossible without the use of pure force to come to a mutual understanding if there is no ability to walk in another person’s moccasins. 

Read about how communication creates higher shared cognitive models HERE

Zhang, Y. (2013). The politeness principles in business negotiation. Cross-cultural communication, 9 (4).