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Organizational Negotiations

A number of years ago, I was involved in sale of our ancestral house in London. I still remember how my negotiating skills helped us get a good price for the house. During those days property market was in a downturn and selling a big four bedroom house was both difficult and challenging task. When I first approached our local estate agent he highlighted the pitfalls. Some of them are legal complexities, unwillingness in the market to make full upfront payment, and prevalence of instalment payment system. Another challenge was existence of newly furnished accommodations in the immediate vicinity.

In real estate business the most important thing is location. I was able to handle the situation so well that we sold the house much above anticipated price. As some management gurus have stated there is a little salesman in all of us. This art of handling difficult people and difficult situation was achieved by communicating properly. My personality in negotiating the deal not only helped in winning but somebody losing. Selling a house is not a game of speculation but it is a challenge which requires strong communication skills, ability to create an illusion of competition and strong personality.

The journey of

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selling this house helped me in understanding the role of communication and personality in the negotiation. Role of Communication: Communication is the link used when negotiating whether face to face, on telephone or in writing. Negotiation is a two way process and requires good communication skills. When negotiating a deal there are various difficult situations in which we need to be polite and firm in words. Being polite is also one of most important requirement of good negotiations: “I would like you to let us know when you can come for viewing the house.

” This was just one of ways I had used when speaking to buyer by being polite. At times I had to put in a stronger tone of my word voice to make the other party understand the importance of what I was talking about. An example of such would be “When you don’t let us know two days before to view the house, I would not have the keys of the house. I need to know two days before when you want to view the house. ” At times I had to tell the estate agent of the consequences if the performance did not change.

For an example “If you can’t let me know two days before to view the house, I need to change my estate agent. ” Also at times I had to clearly communicate the consequences. An example could be “Since you are unable to arrange for the viewing of the house two days before the date, I am moving to another estate agent. ” Communication can be costly if we try to escalate too fast and too soon and also when we may be late which would be too late too little. I had stated my position very clearly by clarifying and justifying throughout the deal.

Although always remember taking a position limits your bargaining capacity thus effecting the outcome. “A position is party’s answer to the question ‘what do you want? ’ If you adopt a position from which you will not budge, you run the risk of losing face if you to back down from the approach you are using (Cohen, 2002, p. 6). ” When we are not happy with the other party response, instead of telling the consequences immediately, take a break which would be time away from the table, write down your plan, log all the details and decide your speaking style .

Then time yourself when you would be speaking. This will help achieve success by wisdom and judgement. As most of management experts say right thing needs to be achieved with right skill. Another important learning from this deal was how to question solicitors and estate agents. Powerful questioning helped me with the reduced solicitor fees and considerable time. I was able to pass on most of legal work to solicitor and estate agent. Always brainstorm with estate agents and solicitors to find options, alternatives and solutions.

An influential person is always a good negotiator. This is another important role of communication in the process of negotiation. This comes from the power of communication. An effective communication used with ones level of knowledge, wisdom and judgement helps in successful negotiation. Role of personality: Most of the role of personal traits in negotiation has been evolved from the work done by Rubin and Brown. They had said interpersonal orientation and motivational orientation are the two variables which influence personality on negotiation.

At the start of the negotiation an impressive personality is very crucial . Personality traits play a very important role in negotiation behaviour. Body language is very important aspect of negotiating. My personality very clearly showed that I was a good listener. Listening carefully to people is an art of personality development. By being dishonest, aggressive, bullying, deceiving or using dirty tricks, I would not be able to achieve such a deal. This task is very challenging indeed but not unachievable. The key thing is finding methods which would depict this personality.

“Negotiators who have personality traits such as stubbornness, quick temper, self-centeredness or aggressiveness may find it difficult to engage in perspective taking or working in collaborative manner. Particular personality traits may create predisposition to specific kinds of behaviour in negotiation (Spangel & Isenhart, 2002, p. 137). ” There is no stereotype personality which would help in negotiating. People would use different types of personality styles or approaches to complete the deal. “The four styles are: competitor style, avoider style, accommodator style, collaborator style (Kennedy, 1998, p.

160). ” Each of these although are positive traits of human being, they lack in context, goals and subject matter. The most important role of personality in negotiations is creation of barriers or conflicts due to negative traits. People with expressive personality even need to also develop skills of context, situation handling and word choices. People who are creative or innovative need to at times follow the structured path because that would be most suitable for the given deal. The role of personality in negotiation is also understood by looking at the level of cooperativeness and agreeableness.

Those days I was in dire need of money. I was able to pursue the buyer essentially because of the personal situation which I was in at that time. Even Empirical researches have shown that causes of negotiation behaviour is superficial personal situation rather than by the deepest personal values. “The components of bargaining behaviour such as the extent to which negotiator haggles with his or her counterparty instead of making concessions, are greatly determined by a player’s economic bargaining situation and little by personality traits (Thompson , 2002,p.

142)”. Researchers have made several experiments and have always paid importance to situation rather than personality. The most important dimension of negotiation was the value of the property, timing of payment and default risk. Anyone who would pay the highest amount I would sell the property to that person. This is very important concept to understand that negotiation behaviour was more of situation based rather than personal traits.

Many modern management consultants have developed software’s which allows you to input counterparties personality traits and then your own personality, within fraction of minute the software give results of most accurate response that you should use when dealing with the person. I never used such software throughout the deal. After a couple of meetings with my estate agent and solicitor, I was able to adapt to the behaviour. I was very successful in getting round with them and knew very well when not to phrase the sentences and remarks. This was a very influential personality trait.

As all psychologists say knowing our own personality traits helps in controlling and managing them which would improve negotiation skills. Always remember there is no right or wrong style in negotiating deal. There is no definite style of both communication and personality used in negotiation. We need to learn from all the old negotiations conducted. We need to reject poor negotiation ways and adopt an effective one. This involves regular controlling and monitoring the styles. Negotiation is a trade for both the parties involving interactions depicting good communication and personality of both the parties.

Clearly the art of negotiation involves the art of communication. Dialogues form the most important part of negotiations. References Cohen . S, (2002), Negotiating skills for managers, published by McGraw-Hill Professional Kennedy . G, (1998), Kennedy on negotiation, published by Gower Publishing Ltd, Spangel. M & Isenhart. M. W, (2002), Negotiation: Communication for diverse settings, published by SAGE Thompson. L. L, (2002) , the social psychology of organizational behaviour: Key readings, published by Psychology press

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