Guest Speaker- Best Practices in Negotiation in Business
In instances where there's a negotiation and you don't know who you're going to be speaking with or dealing with, I think the best thing that you can keep in mind is building rapport as quickly as possible. And I'll say that I think we go through life every single day negotiate things and very rarely is it dollars and stakes and huge deals that are on the table. But on a big scale, what we read about in the media and news is that you'll see sometimes two very large entities or corporations try to come together for the sake of a merger or an acquisition.
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Hi, I’m Jacqueline Roth. I’m an executive vice president with Bolton & Company, and I work in the health insurance industry. I think some of the best practices to keep in mind in negotiations is knowing who’s on the other side of the table. Knowing who you’ll be encountering that conversation with. In instances where you have a relationship, there’s certainly a lot more comfort and there’s a lot more ease in that conversation. Because where there’s relationship and trust, there’s usually a higher likelihood of positive outcomes. In instances where there’s a negotiation and you don’t know who you’re going to be speaking with or dealing with, I think the best thing that you can keep in mind is building rapport as quickly as possible. But I’m convinced through experience and through even research the best outcomes are had where there’s relationship. On a macro and micro level I think that knowing who you’re dealing with has a lot of impact and a lot to do with what the outcome is. Another best practice to keep in mind when negotiating is expectations. I think being aware of your expectations, what you are bringing to the conversation and the negotiation is critical. But just as critical is understanding what the other person is bringing to the negotiation and what their desired outcome is. So, in an instance where you have a relationship, knowing what the other person’s interest is, is a little easier than when somebody is an unknown to you. But I think getting expectations known for yourself and for the other person is a critical part of negotiation. Sometimes it’s a challenge to understand what the other person’s interests or goal is. So I think that’s definitely where, in any book I’ve ever read, the art of negotiation is getting to understanding. Get somebody comfortable enough to share with you what their ideal outcome is. And I think some of the fun and interest in negotiations is probably doing that conversational dance and figuring out what do you want, what do I want? Where there’s a relationship and where there’s underlying trust and there’s a foundation of that, people can cut to the chase very quickly. Where there isn’t interest and where there’s a relationship, it can take hours, minutes, days, weeks, years to build. So I think the circumstances definitely determine the length and duration of a negotiation. And I’ll say that I think we go through life every single day negotiate things and very rarely is it dollars and stakes and huge deals that are on the table. I think we negotiate the details of our lives with great regularity down to where we want to eat and who we want to talk to and where we want buy our groceries and have our coffee. So there are details in our lives that require some negotiation if there’s another party involved. Most people that live alone on an island don’t have to negotiate very much. If you live around people, I think you can expect that you’ll be doing a great deal of negotiation in your lifetime. So I can say on a large scale, looking at mergers and acquisitions, sometimes you hear rumblings of negotiations that went poorly, deals that were never made. And then on a more personal level, I’ll speak to some of the things that I’ve encountered in my experience in this career in particular. But on a big scale, what we read about in the media and news is that you’ll see sometimes two very large entities or corporations try to come together for the sake of a merger or an acquisition. And something fall through the cracks, whether that be information wasn’t shared. They don’t make it through due diligence because data wasn’t all brought to the table. Or there are surprises where people don’t know what the other person should have shared. On a really large scale, we’re talking of billions of dollars at stake. What’s interesting, I think, about those stories is after you read it, and you read some or hear some of the details. You go, well, why wouldn’t that company share with that company that they had that knowledge or that they knew that information Information? I think a lot of that is fear, and the same thing applies when it’s one person dealing with another person for the sake of a smaller deal or arrangement. And I think that that is certainly a commonality between huge negotiations and everyday small negotiations. When we’re fearful, we tend to not share data. Where there’s trust, where there’s some sense of rightness, you will do right by me, and I will do right by you, there’s less fear, and there’s more transparency. So I think that, in those instances, you have a higher likelihood for positive outcomes. Because there’s more data on the table. Where deals definitely go wrong, large, medium, small, indifferent, I think are where people go in with one side of the story. I think anybody is set up to fail when they enter a room or a conversation with only their side of the story and unwilling to understand the other side. The true art of negotiation, I think, is understanding this is my need, this is what I would like to have, this is the outcome that’s my desire. And getting to very quickly what is yours. And if you can do that, your odds for success definitely increase. Arrogance, cockiness, bullheadedness, I think those are the things that stop us from having positive negotiations. Because we’re convinced that I need what I need and I’m going to get what I need. The flip side of that is there’s a negative impact to the other person that you’re dealing with, which means they’re usually unwilling to give you what you need and want. One story that comes to mind for me was one that was really learned more in the classroom than it was in my professional career and experience. And it was with a corporate psychologist who had taken a room of about 40 professionals and divided them into two groups. And then broken those two groups into two by two, so one and one dealings. Each group of two had a story to digest, and they only had a certain part of the story. So both people had two different sides of the story, and both had two different desired outcomes. So this practice, this experiment was supposed to take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. And it ended up lasting for the entire group over an hour and a half. The reason for that is that the two parties, and I was on my own team, but the two parties had a very difficult time getting to what is my need? What is your need? Because they had so many other facts and pieces of data floating around because of the stories that they had read, which is very true to life. When we have an experience with somebody, we know we need to have discussion about something that’s crucial or sensitive. And we have thousands of different other pieces of that story clouding our judgment and impacting how we see the story. And I think what was interesting to me about this example that I’m referring to is one person, in this instance, needed one side of the same outcome. The other needed the opposite side. And in this specific example, we’re talking about an orange. One needed, for their country, the orange rind. The other needed the pulp for juice. It took an hour and a half to get to the outcome. But that team was the fastest one to get to a successful negotiation. So I think the everyday life, what we’re tasked with doing, the burden of doing is we have to understand what are the nuts and bolts of this negotiation? What is it that you need? What is it that I need? Dale Carnegie talks about how successful people will go very far in life when they understand what’s my need and what’s your need. Zig Ziglar, who, I grew up on Zig Ziglar, says you can have anything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want. There are different philosophies that you can think about with regard to negotiation. But the best authors out there, whether they’re psychologists, or whether they’re business people, women and men who have made their careers in this field. I think what they share in common is understanding, what’s my need, what’s your need and working towards a common goal. Working towards a positive outcome together. I would say anybody who is looking to get into the field of business, and there’s so many options, there are so many different paths you can take. A lot of them include people. [LAUGH] And I think If you have an interest in dealing with people, if you have an interest in dealing with, whether it’s the people side of business, or the marketing side of business, or the finance, or the support, there are so many roles you can play. The people that I respect in my field and in the field of business, their commonalities are they are people who genuinely care about people. And they’re people who have clarity of thought and who are willing to work really diligently to get to the truth of circumstances and work with that truth. They’re achievement minded people, people who really would like to see great things happen. There is, I mean, there’s so much that’s dynamic and happening in different fields in business, in healthcare in particular. Because the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, businesses are adapting to what that is meaning for them. They’ve been adapting for the last, coming up on six years. And I think that what’s fascinating there is, if you’re a lifelong learner, there will always be some value that you can add, as long as you are constantly learning. Because if you’re constantly learning, you can constantly be sharing, and educating, and teaching with other people what’s relevant. And the things that they need to know for their business to protect them. And In my instance, I’m referring to keeping the businesses safe, and keeping their people insured, and keeping them compliant within the law.
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