Tips for Handling All Sorts of Negotiations

By Consumer Dummies

You can apply the six basic skills to every negotiation, no matter what. But some of the negotiations you’ll encounter may seem beyond the scope of these skills. Let’s face it, they aren’t. You simply have to remain focused on the six skills.

Negotiating is like tennis. You have to serve the ball whether you’re playing a rank amateur or in the finals at Wimbledon. Like the backhand and forehand shots in tennis, your negotiating skills stay with you no matter what court you’re on or who your opponent is.

Negotiations can become complex for any number of reasons, and male-female negotiations often have an element of complexity. And as the world seems to grow smaller and move faster, you’re likely to face international negotiations and negotiations that take place over the telephone and Internet.

When negotiations get complicated

In simple negotiations, you can apply the six basic skills without too much trouble. But what happens when a negotiation gets complicated? Complex negotiations happen when the negotiation becomes larger in scope, and the amount of work and organization requires more than two people (one on each side of the negotiating table) can handle alone.

When the negotiation shifts from a 2-person affair to a 20-person affair, the negotiation is complicated. On a personal level, a negotiation becomes complicated when you invest all your emotion and effort into getting the deal closed. For example, a salary negotiation, although simple in theory, carries a lot of emotional weight behind it.

No matter the size and factors involved in the negotiation, the six basic skills serve as your core to making the negotiation a success.

International negotiations

International negotiation (or cross-cultural negotiation) is one of many specialized areas in the world of negotiating. The six basic skills are just as critical, if not more critical, in international negotiations as they are when you’re negotiating on home turf. International deals require more preparation because you have to tailor your negotiating approach to the customs of the country you’re negotiating in.

Preparing for cross-cultural negotiating requires more than just understanding how foreigners close a deal. You have to know the differences in communication, their attitude toward conflict, how they complete tasks, their decision-making processes, and how they disclose information. Even the body language in other countries is different from what we’re accustomed to in the United States. Eye contact, personal space, and touch vary among countries.

Research the country’s traditions before walking into a negotiating room on foreign soil. Watch foreign language films, read travel guides, and learn key phrases in your counterpart’s language during the preparation process. Bridge the communication gap as much as possible. When you start behaving like a native, you’ll earn the respect and confidence of your foreign counterpart.

Negotiations between men and women

Communication between the sexes is much different now than it was during our grandparents’ time. For one, women are now leaders in large businesses and politics, two worlds once dominated solely by men. As we begin the twenty-first century, the communication gap between men and women has slowly narrowed but fundamental differences still separate the two sexes.

Negotiation on the phone and via the Internet

We’re riding on the information superhighway and never looking back.

The landscape of communication has changed dramatically, thanks to the telephone and the Internet. These forms of telecommunication have made communication faster and sometimes simpler. More importantly, they’ve created a new mode of negotiating. You can now negotiate from the comfort of your own home, in a car while driving to your office, or from a different part of the world.

Negotiating via the telephone and Internet requires the same preparation and etiquette as a face-to-face negotiation. The only difference is that the negotiation happens at the lift of a headset or the push of a button. Although simpler, using the telephone or Internet to negotiate is not as good as negotiating in person. You miss the human interaction, the body language, and the gestures that are so important in gauging others when negotiating in a room.