This article is designed to improve communication and listening skills in order to move from win-lose (position based) outcomes to mutual gains win-win (interest based) results in negotiations. Readers will learn and practice interest-based negotiation, moving from divisiveness to synergy, adversarial to collaborative communications, compromise to consensus, threats and solutions to interests and needs, and combativeness to mutual problem solving. We will discuss the costs associated with conflict, how you can resolve a conflict situation through seven progressive steps, and what is required of you to become a better negotiator.

This article will determine the styles of conflict management and when to use each; it will also discuss the role you play in conflict and identify the conflict culture of your organisation.

Negotiation is the art of getting what you want, and the key to being a successful negotiator is to be prepared. You should want to have a systematic preparation to each negotiation and always be polite and mannerly, yet logical, reasonable, persistent and patient. You will also want to address relationships issues of the negotiation separately from the substantive issues, separating the people from the problem.

Negotiation is problem solving with more than one party, with the solution to the problem resolving the conflict. Negotiation is a shared decision involving those people involved in the conflict. It is a complex process, but we do it every day. Some of us are better at it than others, but we can all become better negotiators. Effective negotiation occurs when both sides get something from the interaction. If you know what’s important to you, and you know what’s important to the other side, you need not fear the result of a hundred negotiations.

Jan-Mar 2014 issue

International Center for Compassionate Organizations