SSCS400 – Capstone Seminar
Term I, 2012-13
Dr Michael Benoliel
The Best Practices of World Class Master Negotiators
During Week 10, Dr Michael Benoliel gave an unforgettable talk that taught me many pointers, which I could apply in the future wherever I go. His main topic was on the best practices of world-class master negotiators where he shared with us the factors that differentiate these world- class negotiators with the other average ones. Before he started, he shared with us briefly some of them that are currently in the area of politics diplomacy, business and sports and also those who specialise in Asia. He then mentioned and shared with us his experience with Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh, where Dr Michael Benoliel sent an appointment to have a talk with him. However, instead of being interviewed, Mr. Tommy Koh turned the tables around and postponed the interview to gather information before interviewing Dr Michael Benoliel instead. This was very entertaining and surprising as to how he was so tactful in changing the direction of the interview.
Thereafter, he shared with us the big picture of negotiation where there were four important factors that played a role in the process and outcome of negotiation. Firstly there was the factor of the people who were involved, specifically the negotiators which depend on the type of personality they exhibit, their emotions (where negotiators who are highly neurotic are less able to control their emotions and have higher tendency to showcase them), their gender and even their culture. This could significantly influence the direction of the negotiation in some way or another. Secondly, the content of the negotiation was important as it included the quality of the discussion/ negotiation and the quantity, and in cases of a sales item, the pricing of the product. The better and more aware the negotiators were of the content to be discussed and negotiated, the better the position he/ she could proceed with the negotiation. Thirdly, he also shared with us how the tables were set up or arranged could affect the negotiation process. Lastly, the environment that depends on the types of industries involved, whether it is regulated or otherwise, had a role to play in influencing the outcome- whether it helped to achieve satisfying and optimal results.
There are also multiple types of intelligence that negotiators possess such as cultural, social, cognitive and emotional ones. However, what differentiates a master negotiator from the average ones are these two particular types of intelligence- cultural and social. A master negotiator scored high in both areas in tests that were run. It actually showcased how different negotiators carefully and intelligently negotiated (making use of these aspects of intelligence) without offending the other party (even though they could be from totally different cultures). This was to prevent stirring any political conflicts between countries (the importance of sensitivity to other countries and their practices).
Describing the process of negotiation is pretty much like building a golden bridge, where the two parties involved in the negotiation are the extreme ends. Each party tries to persuade the other to cross over to the other side. However, in order to do so each negotiator needs to be well prepared, and be aware of the one’s resistance points and target points, as well trying to predict the other party’s resistance point. Moreover, in order to be able to influence the other a psychological bridge must be built with the other party through establishing a connection, where time and effort is invested to build up relationship and trust between each other. One determining factor which influences the stability of the psychological bridge is the importance of knowing the interest of the other party. Specifically, this means understanding...
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