Why are Negotiation Skills in Business Vital?
Negotiation skills are not only important in our day-to-day interactions, but in helping sales, marketing and management teams to set policy, maintain a sense of direction and, I would argue, to establish a clear and consistent corporate vision. Truly, negotiation skills training has lately gotten a bad name and as a negotiation skills expert, it troubles me.
What negotiation should never be
For a multitude of reasons, a “good negotiator” has often evolved into the image of a slick huckster who strives to deceive, obfuscate or under-cut other parties at the “negotiating table.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We should negotiate to get to the point of transparency, a mutual and fair dialog and always, an ethical outcome.
The images of hard-nosed negotiators who resort to threats, bluster and a lack of respect are the stuff of Hollywood movies and unrealistic reality-television portrayals. The most effective negotiators I have had the pleasure of meeting and training, are often soft-spoken, amiable and ethical.
In any negotiation skills discussion I stress mutual respect, empathy and to never cross ethical lines. I could easily argue that negotiation that led to “side-deals,” bribery or bait and switch, have at times resulted in a loss of reputation, terminations and from time-to-time, severe legal penalties.
Why are negotiation skills in business vital?
The prestigious Harvard Law School review recently (April 2022) stated:
“[That negotiation] is the starting point from which all commercial transactions occur, from purchasing equipment to setting salaries, negotiation in business is an essential skill no matter what field a negotiator finds herself in. Using an objective standard can strengthen your proposal and eliminate emotional bias.”
If we, as negotiators reach a starting point that we mutually agree will help us reach an objective standard, then we can empower ourselves and our organizations. In the process, as negotiators we should allow the other side to come away feeling as though they have also reached a satisfactory outcome. Our objective is not to be out to “get anyone,” but to come away with a fair deal; an outcome that will lead to more business. However, it takes a plan and preparation as well as a cohesive team to get that result.
Far too many organizations believe they have an internal “negotiation mindset,” that they somehow have all the skills and instincts they need, and they can show up at the table and sing-and-dance their way to a satisfactory outcome. Negotiating has gotten a lot more sophisticated than that.
I know that as a negotiating skills keynote speaker and consultant that when we enter a negotiation with a plan and clear-cut objectives, we can reach the standard most favorable to our chances of reaching a satisfactory outcome.
So, back to my original question of why are negotiation skills vital? Because they enable us to reach a place where we can reach successful transactions, enter and leave as reputable and ethical business people and allow the other side to gain positive results as well.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Negotiation Skills Keynote Speaker, for an in-person or virtual presentation, please call. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.