Business negotiations

Communication plays an important role in any type of business. Ability to find a common ground and reach the agreement with different people is a key to success in business and everyday life. But sometimes occur situations, when own authority is not enough to affect the employees, partners or representatives of other company. Then you must negotiate.

Many people think that bargaining is the same as negotiations, but there is a significant difference between this two terms. When we say bargain, we talk about some kind of conflict situation, when in the end one part wins and the other loses (e. g. bargaining about the price of some trinket on the flee market). Negotiations, in turn, are implying search for a solution, which will be beneficial for all parties.

There is a widespread belief that the main part of any negotiations is a give-and-take process, which helps to reach the agreement between the parties. It’s partly true, because search for consensus is of great importance, because negotiations is a complicated social process. However, the most important factors, which affect the results, don’t occur during negotiations — they emerge before the discussion or form the context around it.

You can get an understanding of negotiation process from three sources. First one is personal experience of negotiations in everyday life. Second source is a thematic media – news channels, economic journals and specialized Internet portals which every day give the reports about different economic and political negotiations and their results. Third way is studying the scientific studies in the topic.

Necessity of negotiations can appear in different cases, but all of them have next common characteristics:

  • Existence of two or more stakeholders (individuals, groups or organizations).
  • Conflict of interests between the parties – desires and needs are usually differing, that’s why emerges the need for search of compromise.
  • Voluntariness. Parties choose to negotiate when they expect to get better terms (comparing with primary ones).
  • Expectation of concessions. Each party assumes that the opponent will give up some of their claims in a favor of mutually beneficial compromise.
  • Striving for agreement. For all participants of negotiation process, it is more profitable to get an agreement than to lose the contract and ruin business relations.
  • Reviewing and changing of material (contract cost) and non-material (desire to “win”, or not to be “defeated”; need to look “competent” and “cool” in the eyes of people, whose interests you represent; ambitions to defend own interests during negotiations; willingness to keep a “good relations” with opposite party after the negotiations) factors. Non-material factors motivate the negotiators and can influence both process and result of negotiations.

Insufficient attention to non-material factors and over-emphasizing of material ones are often the reasons of failed negotiations, because the negotiators themselves rarely realize how it affects the ability to objectively evaluate the situation and make adequate decisions.

When it’s not worth to negotiate?

In some situations negotiations are far not the best variant of conflict resolution. Let’s consider the cases, when you should avoid negotiations.

  • Extremely high demands. If you’re imposed with too many obligations – don’t conduct negotiations, better choose the other way to solve the conflict.
  • Unethical requests. When opposite party insists on illegal, unethical or immoral actions (e. g. to give or receive the bribe), it’s better to break negotiations immediately. If your organization or reputation will be compromised – you will lose in a long-term perspective.
  • Absence of benefits. If in the result of negotiations you will receive no profit – it’s not worth to begin with.
  • Lack of time. When the time is running out, there is a great possibility that you will make a mistake by making the decision.
  • Dishonesty of the opponents. You should never negotiate with people or companies which have bad reputation — it’s contagious. Besides that, avoiding the collaboration with such people or organizations you’re escaping the risk of being deceived.
  • Poor information background. Never begin negotiations without preliminary preparations. Gather all data you can find about opposite party – it will return a hundredfold.

Need in conducting of negotiations can emerge due to different reasons – dividing of limited resources, incapability to manufacture new product independently, necessity of conflict solution etc. Success of negotiation processes depends on awareness and experience of negotiators, and also on their communicative abilities. But, regardless of reasons, results of negotiations should satisfy all participants, otherwise, it can hurt the