The negotiations class was an insightful experience. It helped me attain a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses both personally and professionally. It helped put into perspective a lot of my theoretical analysis conducted on group dynamics and, most importantly, has helped me become a more effective negotiator. My goal with this paper is to communicate the evolution of my negotiation skills during the progression of the course.
As a negotiator, a few of my strengths include being a good listener with a calm composure and positive attitude. I have the ability to make my opponent feel at ease by being patient and attentive, and breaking the ice when needed with the use of humor. In negotiations I recognize an opportunity to form alliances and build subconscious trust. Additionally, being married for almost 3 years has helped me become a better negotiator as well. My public speaking experiences and technical paper writing projects help me find the right words to use when speaking. Furthermore, being is sales has afforded me the opportunity to discuss and watch others negotiate and argue points on price and technology. As a team player, it has helped me understand the concepts of group dynamics and being persistence. I try to make their professional interaction with me enjoyable in order to create a win-win environment. I have the cognitive ability to try and view situations from my opponent’s point of view and focus on common interests.
Along with my strengths a few of my weaknesses are being able to control my emotions -- commanding reasonable authority, managing temper, etc. Dealing with negative emotions from the opposition is another factor I have been trying to understand. Knowing when to step away from the negotiation table and being able to really do it is another weakness. Sometimes I find myself too trusting with verbal promises. Occasionally I tend to over commit in a negotiation and sometimes settle on a agreement which is outside the scope of my responsibilities. When tasks are performed in a wrong way I often find myself taking things to heart and getting too disappointed.
From day 1 the course enabled me to outline a few guidelines on how to negotiate effectively. We were educated about critical concepts used to gauge the various types of negotiation scenarios and were given a crash-course on the psychology of negotiations.
The concept of the “anchor” is the key in setting the tone for a lot of the discussion to follow. Based on the anchor, the subsequent reactions give us clues about the opponent’s agenda. The most typical reactions are where the opponent displays an extreme reaction of dislike known as a flinch, or the opponent shows complete disregard to your proposed anchor by putting forward one of his or her own. From my past experiences it was always unclear as to the benefits or the detriments caused by proposing an opening offer. It was enlightening to understand the fact that an opponent’s opening offer cannot and should not be recognized as a bench mark.
The Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) is a useful negotiation concept. Whether it is a single issue negotiation or multi-party multi-issue negotiation, locating the ZOPA should be the goal during the discussion. Looking for hints and clues during the discussion about the priorities and interests of the opponent help one locate the ZOPA. I have understood there is no straightforward method to do this and that one should utilize their acquired negotiation skills to try and listen between the words and numbers to locate the ZOPA. Once the anchor is within the ZOPA it is fair to conclude that an agreement will probably be reached. Also, one must keep in mind that incorrect assumptions of the ZOPA can fence you in and reduce your chances of reasonable maximization on the deal.
Another important lesson learned is to always conceal your bottom line. This...