There are several different processes, ideas, and efforts that go into the overall practices of effective negotiation and conflict resolution. Yet no productive negotiation could be possible without the valuable use of skills. Two types of skills can help a successful negotiator. The first type is hard skills, which are guidelines, strategic measures, or anything that can be copied down onto paper and taught. The second type is soft skills, which are the skills acquired through practicing negotiation that can’t necessarily be taught. To get a better idea of the definition and examples of each type of skill, it is better to discuss them each individually in more depth. Hard Skills
Several authors have written books and articles about what methods are beneficial for successful negotiation. A great example of an author who knows a lot about effective negotiation methods that benefit both sides of the negotiation is Bernard Mayer. As an author of several books, a professor at the Werner Institute and Creighton University, and a founding partner of CDR associates, Bernard has a lot of accomplishments in the field of conflict. He also has been working in the field of conflict for over forty years as a mediator, facilitator, researcher, and consultant. In his book Dynamics of Conflict: A Guide to Engagement and Intervention, Bernard discusses in depth unique ideas of looking at negotiation that benefit negotiators. In one section of the book he mentions a way of looking at conflict that helps the negotiator determine the source of the conflict at hand. He uses the Wheel of Conflict to demonstrate various aspects of interaction, personal life, and outside forces that can be the cause of a conflict. The outer layer of the wheel contains personality, data, culture, and power. The second layer of the wheel contains emotions, values, communication, structure, and history. The inner circle, and final layer, of the wheel are basic needs broken down into survival needs, interests, and identity needs (Mayer, 10). When in the negotiation process it is beneficial to look at these different layers of the Wheel of Conflict to help determine the source of the conflict at hand. Being able to first acknowledge the root of the problem is a great way to start the process of working through it.
Three authors collaborated on the book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. These authors are Roger Fischer, Bruce Patton, and William Ury. In this book, they describe a method of negotiation that helps keep the discussions on track throughout the entire negotiation process. The method is broken down into four parts that help keep the negotiator and the parties involved focused on resolving the issue. The first part is “separate the people from the problem” (Fischer, 19). This allows the problem being faced to be the focus of discussions rather than the people as individuals. The second part is “focus on interests not positions” (Fischer, 42). Focusing on the position rather than the interests causes the individuals to get stuck in something they may or may not end up wanting in the end. However, if the focus is on the interests of each side, then it is possible to come to a solution that is beneficial to all sides. The third part is “invent options for mutual gain” (Fischer, 58). Obviously it is in the best interest of both parties to come up with a solution that is mutually beneficial. Finally, the fourth part is “insist on using objective criteria” (Fischer, 82). The use of objective criteria insures that no side is trying to hoodwink the other. If the information is objective, then it is impossible for one side to claim that it is unfair to their cause. Each part of this method provides a structured negotiation process that is beneficial to all parties involved. Soft Skills
While the above-mentioned hard skills...
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