How to improve Negotiation skills

Have you ever done any negotiation?

When I was asked, I couldn’t think of many examples since I thought “Negotiation=Business Talk or Salary talk”.

But it turned out that there are many different types of negotiation.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Bangkok to participate in 4-day-long negotiation training in humanitarian setting, which was organized by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Although the main topic was on refugee, there were many contents that can be applicable to daily life.

There are many different definitions of negotiation, but the one I thought was simple but making to the point is this: Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement

The training lasted for 4 days with full of lectures, dynamic and creative activities, so it is hard to cover everything in this entry. The following points are mainly what I took out of this training:

  • Listen actively: people tend to focus on what they will say, instead of listening to others
  • Probe the need, not position: when someone argues or disagrees, usually their point tends to come from the surface position (I will not let you go no matter what), instead of need (what’s in dept and why you want to pass)
  • Sympathize:  Put yourself in others’ shoes. Once you listen and probe the need, you can see what others need and try to find the Best Alternative point
  • Win-Win: Negotiation is not about competition (win-lose) but it can be win-win. This is important especially when you need to deal with the other party for long time.
  • Negotiation can be daily thing: it is not only about business meeting, but it can happen in any conversation

This time I learned:

Daily life is full of negotiations, and what’s important is not wining the race, and by listening to the others actively, probing the needs and putting yourself in others’ shoes, both you and others can come up with best solution.


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