Negotiation techniques

Unreflective stubbornness vs withdrawal and margin losses

Negotiation techniques

process structure, coalitions, listening, ideas and solutions, arguments


We suggest that the negotiation techniques training is carried out in the following contexts:

  • Margin losses. Sales representatives and purchasing department employees who are unable to deal with risks may inflict significant margin losses. Giving in to anxiety, only following sympathies and lacking the ability to build alternatives to unfavourable agreement with a relevant customer or supplier means that we provide unprofitable discounts too easy and accept unfavourable conditions. During the training, we practise skills that enable to maintain the balance between non-reflexive stubbornness, and withdrawal and capitulation.
  • Product value. It happens that the people we work with focus almost exclusively in negotiations on simple financial parameters. The justification for “loss” is, above all, the “excessively high” price. The analysis of statements of these people often shows that their communication with customers or suppliers almost never features words, phrases or expressions that would enable to talk about terms and benefits other than a low price.
  • Conflicts and tensions in collaboration with customers and suppliers. Our negotiation technique training will also be useful when the collaboration with customers or suppliers features too many conflicts and misunderstandings whose consequences are overly expensive. In such situations, we particularly focus on practising skills related to shifting from positions and hard declarations to talking about needs, values and emotions.
  • Internal conflicts. The negotiation technique training is also dedicated to all the people whose work involves carrying out internal negotiations. In this version, the training is focused on skills enabling conflict resolution and internal collaboration.

Selected issues:

  • Development of negotiation process structure (“who?”, “what?”, “when?”). In this part of the training, we improve skills related to managing the structure of the entire negotiation process and the structure of individual conversations. An effective negotiator is able to decide what, who, when and how long he/she will do and say. In negotiations, passive persons will receive only what they get from others.
  • Sides and coalitions (“away from the table” and “at the table”). In a situation where a negotiating table which we sit to is “badly set”, no communication tricks will help us. During the training, we pay special attention to talks and actions that should be carried out or performed even before we arrange a meeting that is decisive for our case.
  • Recognition of needs and values. If we cannot hear needs, values and emotions that are important to the people we talk to, we will only achieve distance and reluctance. The lack of understanding what our interlocutors care about prevents the development of mutually beneficial agreements. Unreflective sticking to one’s opinion often ends in a loss of a contract/relationship, and the fear and lack of an alternative to a disagreement leads to submissive acceptance of conditions unfavourable to us. An important part of our negotiation training are skills related to listening and naming the needs and emotions of the people with whom we negotiate.
  • Formulation of solutions and ideas for agreement. Effective negotiators form many ideas and solutions during talks. Repeating the same proposal over and over or not referring to important remarks and suggestions made by the people we talk to significantly limits the possibility of obtaining a contract favourable for us. During the training, we teach how to generate ideas and solutions based on the identification of differences between the potential and capabilities of individual parties.
  • Building an argument. It is quite often that the arguments we hear during negotiation exercises and simulations are built on inconclusive and imprecise phrases and expressions. During the training, we discuss effects of such communication with participants. Our method of competency development assumes that we teach almost exclusively through direct experience and by asking questions. During the classes, we never provide “great” or “always true” advice, tips, recommendations or instructions. Independent conclusions and thoughts of participants of our training courses are the most important part for us.

During the training, we use the following methods and tools:

Analysis of statements

The Whitefox Statement Coding System was created on the basis of an analysis of over 3,000 transcripts recorded during AC/DC sessions, exercises and simulations It includes 152 language forms. Many of them have a huge impact on the effectiveness of negotiations carried out by participants of our training courses. The scope and content of practised phrases and grammar structures are adapted to the context of work of a relevant group. In respect of the negotiation technique training, we quite often prepare training exercises dedicated to a relevant company in order to minimise the abstractness of completed simulations.

Analysis of facial expressions

During the training, each participant will receive a manual containing a description of 98 facial actions and movement patterns (action codes) for 7 basic emotions (joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt) and 8 complex emotions (boredom, shyness, desire, embarrassment, interest, pride, shame, guilt). Exercises in recognition of facial expressions will be carried out using computer software that supports the process of learning facial movements characteristic for particular emotions. An important part of the negotiation technique training is the detection of simulated emotions and lies.

Recognition of logic of action of interlocutors

During the course, participants will learn to use tests and observational scales that enable to determine the logic of action of the people they talk to. The determination of attitudes and values preferred by interlocutors enables to develop solutions and arguments tailored to the needs and emotions important to them.

Behaviour training

The training is of a practical nature. The lecture part is restricted to the minimum. We do not use slides. Classes rely almost exclusively on performing exercises and simulations.

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