Negotiation – what it really is!

Often the term negotiation brings to mind high level discussions solving global problems or austere negotiation teams sweating over price or the other usual targets that austere negotiation teams target.

I feel that this is a big misconception and so, in this blog post I will try to provide a wider perspective in an effort to be-free the term from this very restrictive viewpoint.

The broadening of the term definition is a necessary start.

DEFINITION OF TERM: NEGOTIATION

I firmly believe that we can define the totality of the human experience and our interaction with the world as, a negotiation between us and the world in an effort to find meaning and meaningfulness.

From the plethora of available definitions I think the below remark from Danah Boyd on the MIT Media Lab is capturing this nuance well.

“Fundamentally, social interaction is a negotiation between individuals performing within a particular social context to convey aspects of their identity. This negotiation often occurs with little conscious thought; people comfortably interact with one another, revealing what is appropriate while assessing what information is being given.”- Danah Boyd, MIT Media Lab, Master’s Thesis

When you think about it, common verbal or non verbal everyday interaction is effectively an effort to understand and be understood. This is because in its core, during our interaction with others we are negotiating the conveyance of meaning.

If we do this well we reach a positive self-image which assists in the development of our identity, among others.

Hence, the logical conclusion is that the negotiating process is:

i) far more frequent that some may think as it is the most common part of the everyday human experience.

ii) extremely important and so, to develop good negotiating skills as a basic human skill is a must.

Of course, negotiating the resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East has completely different gravity than negotiating the time your son or daughter should come home after a late night.

But in saying that, when we become conscious of the effect good negotiating skills have in our lives we may start aiming to develop more of this essential skill.

This can then become a necessary prerequisite for leading a happier and more fulfilling life e.g. the contemporary demand for work-life balance then becomes a target that good negotiating skills can definitely assist in.

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RESOURCES – FURTHER READING MATERIAL

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the first step towards a successful negotiation depends on embracing the second position i.e. understanding the other’s point of view (see more about this here).

Over future posts, I will look into common errors in the negotiation process as well as different ways to approach a negotiation.

Moreover, I wholeheartedly recommend the below great resources that discuss effective communication and negotiation skills. These are now classics:

  1. Roger Fisher and William Ury – Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.
  2. Robert Cialdini – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
  3. Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People.

as well as, the Harvard Negotiation Project which has great resources for developing your negotiation skills.

Have you come across other good resources? Feel free to share in the comment section below or send me a private message.

So, how were your negotiation skills today?

[Image credit: 123rf.com]

About George Vrakas
George Vrakas (MBA, CCMP, CMILT) is highly reputed in the fields of Contract and Relationship Management as well as, Services Procurement and Logistics with extensive experience in Contract Management, Procurement and Supply Chain. George is passionate about Contract Management, Procurement, Innovation, Continuous Improvement, Exploring trends that will shape the Future, Team Development and the Modernisation and Automation of processes. George is a member of IACCM. George is the author of www.georgevrakas.com blog and has presented on Globalisation, Procurement and Continuous Improvement at various venues and Universities in Victoria, Australia.

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