3.1 Traits of Negotiators
As people, we bring our own prejudices, values, likes, dislikes, tendencies, and history with us to the negotiation table. Values, behaviors, and experiences unique to each player in the negotiation are likely to influence the way he or she perceives the situation. In supervisory skills courses, we talk about the fact that people's values are typically established by adolescence.
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One of the basic tenets of this course on negotiation skills is, that an effective negotiator seeks additional value from both sides instead of trading concessions for an unchanging pool of value. The ultimate goal of all of the interactions is to maximize the value of the agreement for both parties. Effective negotiators with this focus tend to have certain characteristics and exhibit certain behaviors and approaches. That’s the topic of this week’s lesson. In this module I will discuss the traits and behaviors of various types of negotiators and how to capitalize on the traits that you have and the behaviors that you are comfortable with in your next negotiation. The objectives for this module are to understand some of the important traits of successful negotiators and how they impact the negotiation process. To understand some important behaviors of successful negotiators and how they impact the negotiation process. Evaluate your counterpart’s approach and how you should behave in response to it. In this lecture I will talk about some of the more commonly identified traits of successful negotiators. A significant piece of the negotiation puzzle is the personal experiences and perspective that you bring to the table. This is one of the more challenging aspects of negotiation. Because negotiation is carried out by people not computers or organizations. As people, we bring our own prejudices, values, likes, dislikes, tendencies, and history with us to the negotiation table. Values, behaviors, and experiences unique to each player in the negotiation are likely to influence the way he or she perceives the situation. The value of an offer, or the intent of the offerer. While your history may provide you with background knowledge and your personal values may drive you to perceive your counterpart in a particular way, your own set of personal values can get in the way of establishing the best outcomes for both you and your counterpart. In supervisory skills courses, we talk about the fact that people’s values are typically established by adolescence. And are unlikely to be changed by external influences. People’s personal values help derive what they think and what they want. And help them to define and prioritize what is important to them. It will be helpful for you to understand you counterpart’s own values, but know that sharing a set of values does not necessarily contribute to a better agreement or settlement. In fact, a shared set of values might encourage the participants to settle on an agreement too soon. Trusting that the counterparts have offered their best deal and agreeing to it before considering all the potential points of value and options. Awareness of your counterpart’s value system will be helpful as you need it to determine. What aspects of the negotiation agreement might have the most value for the agreement to him or her, but sharing a set of personal values is not necessarily a necessary component of an effective negotiation. Please note that I’m referring here to personal values regarding life. Business, personal goals, and behaviors. Not value that you are seeking to add to the agreement. Focus more on beliefs and behavior. Beliefs and behaviors can be changed. Beliefs can be defined as how we think the world works. And they can be affected by new information or experiences. Your role is to help the other person to believe that the agreement will be beneficial to him or her as defined. A huge part of improving your negotiation skills is recognizing the influence of your own personal values, your own experiences, and personality. You’ll need to acknowledge them and then remove them from the process. There are numerous self-assessments for this purpose. And I encourage you to use one. You will find a good self-assessment tool in the Stark and Flaherty book, referenced in the resources. Once you have this awareness of yourself in the negotiation process. You can take control of your role. And adapt your responses. If you choose to use a principled negotiation strategy, your ego will have to go, and your sense of competitiveness will have to go. What matters is the real value of the agreement you develop to both parties, not your role or the win. You need to remain focused on what has value to your negotiation counterpart. What your counterpart values is more relevant to getting what you want, than what you value, believe, or expect. You need to learn to see the deal as they see it, and help to increase the value of your offer to them. You need to spend more time being in their shoes, and looking at the agreement from their perspective. Than in yours. For the best agreement, total value must be evaluated from your counterpart’s perspective. Also learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, in particular allow there to be silence. You need to listen for opportunities to add value, remove roadblocks and understand the other person’s personal value system and beliefs. In doing so, there will sometimes be a need for silence, and time to think. Learn to be comfortable with that. It is not necessary to fill silence in a conversation with chatter. When you allow for silence, you may find that your counterpart is less comfortable with it than you, which gives you some power. Listen so that you can acquire information that may be of use. Often, the other party may not have the same level of comfort or experience as you and react poorly to an offer initially. Or fill silence with chatter. Thereby giving up some power. Perhaps though, they might just need time to think it through. On the other hand, your willingness to accept the discomfort may motivate the other party to consider an offer. Which, they initially rejected. Regardless, discomfort is sometimes part of the process. If the primary drive is to keep everyone comfortable, you are unlikely to establish an agreement with the most value to all parties.
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