This paper reflects on my whole negotiation journey including planning efforts in preparation, strategy development and execution of the negotiation. Following this, I have incorporated the reflection of the exhibited behaviour (self and counter-part), strengths, weaknesses, qualities, what I resonated with and surprises I experienced throughout the negotiations. Furthermore, I have reflected on analysis of how my performance aligned with my original vision, my experiences and learnings, key lessons from the class material and exercises. Thereafter, I have presented the important outcomes that I achieved, key learnings and takeaways.
Reflection on Expectation, Preparation, Strategy, Dynamics and Behaviour
Being meticulously prepared for the discussions is the foremost thing that came across my mind and expected the same from my counterparts. I systematically evaluated and recognized the business needs of my counterparts in order to prepare myself for a successful discussion. I realized that devoting time is important in comprehending expectations from each other creates a platform where things get more negotiable and in reaping best benefits out the final deal. While entering negotiations, my foremost expectation was to build up trust, prior to addressing their needs and concerns. I expected to capture and capitalise on the opportunities that lead to essential outcomes. So, I preferred to give my counterparts a platform to establish clear alignment from the very start and present an opportunity to create a relationship bridge. As anticipated, several times the expectations of the other party were not evident and therefore, I had to draw out their formal and informal needs. I knew I would encounter demands that were not reasonable or unacceptable.
Apart from listing my reservation points in detail, my strategy was to pen down all potential questions to determine suitable starting asks in order to drive the discussion in my favour.
Sometimes, I felt that my counterparts had not given much thought about what they exactly needed. I could also sense that that my they were keeping some important information hidden and that led to some trust issues. I did not always expect to know hidden agendas and therefore, stayed attentive to ensure that the expectations I had agreed on did not alter at my expense. Listening thoughtfully helped to frame appropriate replies and ask reasonable questions. Analysing and understanding the key issues as well as their expectations helped me to refrain from making wrong assumptions and inappropriate decisions.
During individual and group negotiations, I put in my best effort to go through the team’s and individual expectations and it helped everyone to be in alignment before commencing the negotiation. In most cases I ensured to get the knowledge of any similar deals accomplished in the past, applicable terms and conditions, relevant agreements and offerings of the final deals.
When it comes to strategy and dynamics, I believe there are few fundamental principles that must be adhered with. I prepared myself by considerately understanding the dynamic forces involved in the deal and focusing on the underlying facts such as which party has more control in the discussion, who would be benefitted more through the transaction, potential alternatives and constraints for both parties. Negotiating in a positive tone is influential and results in progress.
At all times, I confirmed to create the informal version of the contract because it helped me to get an idea about how the deal should be planned and think of critical issues and hence could start the negotiation with my preferred terms. However, I knew that there were certain conditions that my counterpart would never agree with and so, never began the negotiations with those terms and maintained the sense of balance. I was certain about what would be bull’s eye or walk away price.
Considering behaviour, we all certainly have specific set of traits. Some characteristics come to us unsurprisingly, while for others we must put in efforts. Sometimes I felt I had the required familiarity and experience to steer the negotiation process, whereas I also realised that I lacked the necessary mastery with skillset, strategies and tactics to attains equally acceptable results. There are certain treasured skills and without these crucial characteristics, the game is always hard to master. Being persevering and patient was the key to my success, as I took the advantage of these innate qualities to create win-win resolutions.
Few of my counterparts were impatient and made costly mistakes as impatience did not bring potential results for them. I invested some additional time to come across better solutions and avoided hasty decisions under pressure. Negotiations is highly intricate process and that is why I effectively maintained my emotional control. Progress was not always evident, but few of my counterparts played well by being creative and presenting innovative solutions. In most of the cases, I thought clearly under pressure and used my judgement and intelligence to resolve ambiguous issues.
Similarly, my counterparts were aware of the information and considered a variety of options. I ensured to pay attention to underlying details, listened very carefully to find out the areas for further negotiations. Listening effectively played a crucial role in assembling critical information and framing additional questions. After that, I was able to grasp hold of the situation and it became easier to understand what kind of data to put on table, when to present specific information and when to refrain from presenting extra information.
Numerous times, I reflected back to other party’s thoughts in the form of questions to confirm their positions and my understanding. I knew I could never reap positive outcomes if I did not have a strong understanding of the situations and demands of the opposite side.
Indeed, I also realised that I naturally tried to be thoughtful of the needs and sensitive to the emotions of others. My team members and counterparts respected my behaviour and were more receptive to my viewpoints. Empathy successfully led to shape reputation, trust, respect and steered the discussions in right way.
In many cases, eyes and voice provided several nonverbal hints about the emotional condition and I tried to make most out of the unspoken messages. Although I still feel that I could have done better and hence would want to improve these skills. Another area of improvement would be not to take issues or comments personally. Even though it did not reflect in my actions that I felt embarrassed or uncomfortable during certain instances, occasionally it became tough to remain tranquil. This skill is not easy to master as psychology has influential impact on performance, but I have confidence that with practise and experience, it can be honed.
As I plan to enhance my skills and advance my knowledge base, in near future I will pay more attention to my insights and intelligence. Mistakes are inevitable part of any journey, but then again using mistakes can be a stepping stone towards learning. I will keep in mind that not everything is negotiable and hence, concentrate more on issues rather than situations. I intend to become an effective negotiator and would continue to learn from my slip-ups. Additionally, if required and if the situations allow, I will also increase the level of my flexibility in relevant circumstances.
Strengths and Weaknesses.
In my opinion we all approach negotiations with a very different perspective. To be efficacious in this mind game, we must acquire certain characteristics and behaviours. One of the major strengths of negotiators is ability to persuade and leave a lasting impact. Only a strong negotiator has the capacity to turn down the deal graciously and still continue to have a healthy relationship with the counterpart. It is important to understand that negotiation table is not a battlefield where you must negate opinion of others.
A strong negotiator sets high but achievable goals and leaves no stone unturned in resolving problems by suggesting alternative solutions. They posses the ability to differentiate between crucial and less important factors and begin bargaining at the right time with right strategy. I believe I have the ability to communicate resourcefully, proceed logically and take positive initiatives during interactions. Both parties should make profit and one party’s gain in not other one’s loss. I don’t believe in looking up for disagreements and therefore focus on bridging up the existing gaps for coming to consensus. Preparing a clear strategy helped to understand the whole structure and prevented from making wrong offers.
Strength can also be measured by whether folks would happily want to discuss further or some other deals. If someone leaves the door thinking of never meeting again, it was probably not a good impression and sills need to be honed up.
Interestingly, during this whole journey of thought-provoking discussion, I came across few weaknesses. Negotiating can be rough, especially when it comes to asking others what they really want in terms of prices and circumstances. I found out that sometimes it was challenging for me to resolve certain situations since there was a feeling of confrontation. It made me uncomfortable and could not come up the best offers.
I certainly want to overcome this emotion and avoid making mistakes. Understanding that avoiding conflictions questions would not solve the problems and in turn lead to harm all the efforts, would help me to overcome this emotional barrier. If I focus on the outcome and take remarks as a part of the discussion and not personally, I can definitely improve my area of weakness. The more I avoid taking things personally, the greater is the chance of reaching a favourable outcome.
I came across few great negotiators who exhibited excellent characteristics during debates. The foremost quality that I admired most was confidence. They were never discourteous or egotistical. Moreover, they handled everything with confidence, evaluated their actions and decisions and unlocked a platform for win-win agreement. Despite few slipups, they emitted positivity and had unwavering commitment.
Great negotiators never underestimate the power of active listening skills. I realised that counterparts will provide all the information if you ask accurate questions at the right time and listen prudently to the answers. While I was sharing my viewpoints, other members listened sensibly and did not interrupt the flow of the conversation. That way we were able to share valuable information and come up to common conclusions. I personally believe that listening respectfully to other is one of the most important attributes of negotiations.
Patience is another important factor that is found in great negotiators. Having patience is an asset that can result in additional benefits. Some of my counterparts did not rush to come to final remarks. Instead they made the best possible use of time to gather further data and benefited through this skill. I believe if impatient person can push himself out of the comfort zone, then he can reap better benefits out of discussions. analysis of how your performance is aligned with your original vision
In comparison to what I mention in my vision statement previously, I behaved differently in couple of situations. I realised that negotiation process was not as easy as I though it would be. As I scored highest on accommodating and compromising style and lowest on competing style, it was clearly reflected in the weekly negotiations. But after few negotiations, I observed the change in my behaviour as it was heavily focused on collaborative style.
During the discussions, everyone was gratified with the conclusions and I negotiated humbly. Adapting to collaborative style helped me to resolve situations in most efficient way and led to optimum results for everyone involved. While it is time and energy consuming, collaborative style helped to abate negative feelings and shape mutual trust. I also realised that it was not easy for me to stay calm during negotiations and a few times I took things personally which made me feel embarrassed. The only best part about these situations was I was able to reflect positive body language and no one else realised my uneasiness.
Initially I never thought that certain factors can affect me and therefore I believe I need to work on my thought process and I ma sure I can sort it out with practise. So, there are couple of areas of improvement and these do not align with what I mentioned ion my vision report. This is because reality is certainly different form imaginations. I imagine that few things could be done easily but in reality, it is not always the case. However, I am so glad to come across these differences as these will provide me insights about myself and help me to improve and become a even better negotiator. reflecting upon and analyzing your experiences and learning, record key lessons from the class material and exercises:
As taught in class, before entering negotiation I always had few questions in my mind such as where I should start, what would be potential opening stance, should my attitude be competitive or moderate, should any concessions be made, etc. In the process of establishing a firm platform for effective negotiations, I tried to incorporate various lessons from class and personal experiences. I had my first negotiation with Jessica, and it was pretty smooth as we both had the same intention of landing into win-win situation. I liked how Jessica constantly reflected positive attitude and maintained clear communication.
Thereafter, I negotiated with Azra twice. During in person negotiation, I felt that she was respectful and tactful but somehow was in rush to wrap up the discussion and did not give much thought about the questions I asked her. I wanted to get into the details and further explore the option for coming to successful but, we did not have a deal. As taught in class, dilemma of truth and honesty played its role very well several times. I still believe the outcome would have been different, if more time were invested. I also did virtual negotiation with Azra, even before I began the task, I had some uncertainty regarding the trust I could put in and rapport I could build.
During negotiations, I kept in mind the concepts concerning the key factors involved in implementing various strategies. Is was not easy to discover counterpart’s resistance points and influencing the same. So, I used to the strategies of modifying the perception of the counter part and made the costs appear much higher than actually were and outcomes less attractive. Personal information was not straightforwardly available, and initially I did not ask many questions. I believe if I were to do the same negotiation in person, I would have been more comfortable. The time period was stretched due to slow responses.
Although we had a deal, my satisfaction level was not optimum because I felt that negotiation process was in complete due to lack of non-verbal cues and facial expressions. I realised that just by merely seeing the person helps to figure out lot of information.
During MAPO, I tried to apply what I had learnt. I had to analyse the situation to understand what would be beneficial and therefore, had to choose whether making the cost of obtaining goals appear higher or making demands and positions appear more or less attractive to the other party. If I were to do this negotiation individually, I would have acted differently. My approach was more collaborative as I wanted to come to a win-win situation for both parties.
Additionally, I focused more on listening to the arguments of the counterparty and observed the non-verbal cues. We had detailed discussion within the group in order to come to a consensus. When it comes to behaviour, I felt Deanna and Michael were very straightforward in their replies, but Nichole and Jenna were always warm. Sometimes I felt left out in the group due to difference of opinions. I learnt that its is important to maintain the emotional calm and not reflect any uneasiness.
In my discussions with Ryan and Areej, I explored the concepts of value claiming and value creation as it was mentioned in class to be immensely important concepts. Ryan was very collaborative, and we had a good discussion. He exhibited confidence and strong knowledge base. I learnt from him how we cannot let ourselves appear weak if we are unsure of certain factors. After this I got the opportunity to negotiate with Areej. We both had a clear understanding of our priorities and therefore coming to deal was easy. I learnt that clarity of information is key to successful negotiations.
Key learnings and takeaways
Looking back at the negotiations, I learnt “Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”
In the upcoming time, I will try to incorporate the key learnings in my professional dealings. After all, world is highly competitive and there are plenty of options for folks and therefore, establishing a respectable connection was always one of the primary goals in the discussions. I will go through the company websites to extract as much information as possible and reviewed the related articles. To know the background of the person, I will walk through the LinkedIn profiles and do some web search. Additionally, I believe I need to watchful of my thinking process, particularly when deducing what is and what is not negotiable. Having a preconceived notion that something is non-negotiable and therefore, is not worth asking for, can be damaging. I need to look at the discussion table through a more focussed lens, where the platform can provide countless opportunities and mutually valuable alternate resolutions. Functional roles for group members provides accountability and multilateral shared responsibility among the team (Benne, 1948).
I also realized that I did not ask too much in certain situations due to the fear of denial or loss of bid. The only way to deal with this fear is to understand that rejection is not the end of everything and thus, ask more questions, make your reasoning more substantial to get a green signal.
Looking back at the negotiations, I believe I was well prepared in understanding the reservation points, source of power, BATNA and who should make the first offer along with tactics and strategies. Research has revealed that preparation for negotiations helps to ensure a highly developed approach, develops individual confidence and as a result a more successful negotiation (Cronin-Harris, 2004). Sometimes I felt it was easier to deal with numbers by using excel sheet. I learnt that not all negotiations are mean to have a positive deal. The sense of satisfaction does not parallel with the great outcome. I need to be more agile and adjust to the circumstances because it is not always possible to predict every possible scenario. I believe it is immensely mostly tried to organize different parameters involved in discussion. It is important to talk about the desired goal but you have a create a platform for reaching that goal. So even the tiniest details can set up a good conversation mode and therefore should not be neglected. Sometimes not reaching an agreement is not bad. Compromise is not always good. The issue of ethics and legality and how to leverage power can be challenging. In some cases, it is your benefit to come to an agreement to avoid hassle such as taking up the matter to court.