Monday, June 21, 2021

Initiatingnegotiontowinfairly

Generally speaking, communication is to unify, not divide; negotiation is to win with the purpose, and make a deal fairly, professionally, and gracefully.

Today’s business world has become over-complex, hyper-diversified and interdependent. To solve problems large or small, we need to harness communication and enforce collaboration. We dialogue when we communicate. Communication is much more complicated because there are differences in goals, contexts and styles. Each type of dialogue has its use. 

We “argue” to open a new perspective; understand the other point of view and learn something from it; we “debate” to explore critical thinking from a non-biased perspective. And we should do a significant amount of “negotiation” to make agreements and keep things moving forward with an intention to make “win-win” possible.


Clarify a set of purposes and goals:
Communication, including negotiation, is not for its own sake, but about understanding and solving problems, making certain tradeoffs for getting considerably fair deals. So good negotiators are good communicators, great negotiators are great strategists. They are mindful, articulate and informative, demonstrate strong logic to understand their positions, the problems, perhaps chains of problems they need to solve; they also understand the other parties well and treat them with professional manner. They “keep the end in mind”- clarify well-defined purposes & goals of negotiation, well prepare all necessary information for a prioritized agenda, convey the right message in the right formats (presentation, debate, chat, etc,) to tailor the situations at the table for harnessing negotiation effectiveness and enforcing partnership.

Excellent negotiators are visionaries - help others to see the future unfolded; educators - teach others something they perhaps do not know; business “multi-linguists” - switch back & forth from diverse business dialects (finance, information technology, architect, etc) fluently - not just for engaging, but to avoid “lost in translation”; independent thinkers & informative persuader with contextual intelligence- if you want to be persuasive, you shouldn’t just wear the old thinking box or blindly follow others, you intend to understand, interpret, and judge something, you need to form a critical opinion of it based on facts, discerned data, in-depth understanding, and clarified notions; last, but least, an influencer - you need to be unique and impressive, if the RULES are fair, you can stand out, because you are able to influence the atmosphere based on your positive energy, versatility, and you are a intelligent problem-solver, not creating too many issues.

Professional attitude & aptitude:
Negotiation is one of the most critical professional communication activities all over the globe. Either formally or informally, attitude matters. Although attitude is basically ''how we react to any situation that comes up?'' It’s not enough for good negotiation. Because we need to take a proactive attitude to foresee, understand, and prepare for it. Open your mind - listen carefully, expect to learn from other parties, read between the lines, listen to what is not being said, and find some new insight. Be direct to hit the point; be indirect or give some hint for harmony. Respect self and other parties with empathy by being non-judgmental, active listening, and balancing between tolerance and understanding in getting your message across.

At the negotiation table, everything is dynamic, some are under control, some perhaps not, there is no “one size fits all” approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety because there are different psychological perspectives, cognitive abilities, communication skills, or emotional maturity, etc. Effective negotiators are working hard to engage other parties, spread clear messages throughout the negotiation sessions, take a diverse set of activities with mixed communication styles, and keep communication flow with verification. They have a positive attitude, high talent, and are passionate about their work to achieve more, and demonstrate strong professionalism and maturity.

Verified information and updated knowledge:
Nowadays, information is the silver lining and knowledge is power, either speaking at the negotiable table or smoothing the links via communication, good negotiators are good “informants” - in the knowledge or expertise which they bring to bear on the problem. Information has a variety of meanings such as colloquial, professional and technical, there’s good information and misinformation; fresh knowledge or outdated knowledge; they can discern, verify, and use them properly. In fact, well-prepared negotiators should always have relevant, quality information, and professional knowledge to let their data talk for improving persuasiveness and make their decisions rich in information.

The data support negotiation story is not always tedious; even if it is so, it’s necessary to make their conversations rational. Good data clarify our thoughts; good knowledge keeps content enriched. Insightful negotiators understand the process of connecting several verified data items (argument premises) to effect a change in knowledge as “reasoning,” whether the change is occurring in your own mind or intended to change somebody else's mind - 'persuasion.' If done in a careful manner, paying attention to the truth and plausibility of the premises, their support by additional 'evidence' data, and the 'validity' of the argument patterns, with the aim of making agreements. Negotiation needs to be persuasive; persuasion is related to the form of reasoning - the form of selectivity in the presentation of data. Ideally, an information-based negotiation story could be compelling to improve transparency and build trustworthy relationships.

Focus on problem-solving please: As many things in the world, the value from negotiation is multi-folded. Besides crunching the number, we need to make wise investments in the future and encourage constructive behaviors. Even if negotiation is an activity for professional competition, good negotiators show the care and have a frank discussion with other parties about what is possible, and what they plan to do to remove obstacles. Always focus on improving the situation and solving real problems, do not crunch numbers only, fix symptoms, play politics, take lip service, but make every negotiation session value driven to turn around the tough situation. It will take far more effort & diligence on your part to make negotiation a fair game to win heart and mind.

Great negotiators are not only result driven, but they also enjoy such learning experiences and discover the hidden values besides the benefit from the hard numbers. They not only rush to solve handy problems, but also be open minded to make proposed connections of single arguments into a larger picture where they can perceive more professional value to orchestrate another negotiation, solve even bigger problems and make higher achievement. So they develop fresh energy and excitement to make a seamless transcendence from a great negotiator to a great leader who is not just a communication master, but a visionary transformer and business master.

Improve the maturity level of negotiation -to make partner relationships a win-win situation: Negotiations could be exciting and stressful. Winning could be satisfying or frustrating. Technically, "Win-Win" could be translated to mean "mutually beneficial" and should be seen as a negotiation guiding principle which emphasizes fairness in the modern business world and our civilized society. Win-Win Results: can emerge when the two or more parties stop fighting and begin to share their objectives and interests and discover common benefits. In reality though, most win-win situations may leave one party feeling frustrated and confused. You’re trying to figure out how you come out a winner. You see how the others win. But your winning seems more like “less losing” or even winning is like losing psychologically. So how to deal with such negotiation dilemmas effectively?

Great negotiators are high professionals who reach their professional maturity intellectually, psychologically and philosophically. They intend to follow the big principle of “win-win” even if there is a paradox behind the conversation, there is emotional imbalance to deal with, and there are quite a lot of historical lessons & business cases to learn from. They can dig into both the “cause & effect” of winning scenarios thoroughly and improve their communication maturity intellectually by pondering: Have we won based on our competencies, talent, professionalism? If we lose, can we calm down and learn something from it?

Psychologically: How does Win-Win raise our confidence, stimulate our positive mentality, and improve our professional quality?

Strategically: Do most win-win deals have an exit strategy?

Philosophically: Is winning making us a step further in pursuit of truth, not just our personal truth, but a more objective truth, and make us wiser at all?


It’s debatable whether that “Highest Point of Satisfaction” for all parties can actually be known and reached, because satisfaction is again each parties' perception, which is not easily defined.

Generally speaking, communication is to unify, not divide; negotiation is to win with the purpose, and make a deal fairly and gracefully. More often than not, it’s not a one time shot, therefore, remediation, revision, and renegotiation should always be options. Make it fair and professional as there’s no party that can dominate at the negotiation table from every perspective. Encouraging the mindset of equity and fairness should in theory build better long term business relationships.. Still, keep the “rule of the rule” in mind: negotiation is a type of professional communication, not for its own sake, but to solve problems and improve humanity.

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