Throughout history, Warriors were sent into battle because their Generals, on either side, believed that communication alone, could never achieve an adequate solution. Today, negotiation skills are what afford a leader or manager the chance to prevent commercial battles; industrial disputes, sales objections, customer complaints and simple conflicts of interest.


Given the fact that each person has a unique set of priorities, values, and principles, it is quite unavoidable for these differences to hinder the maintenance of healthy or mutually beneficial human relationships. It is crucial, therefore, for individuals, always, to be open and amenable to negotiate and to settle encountered conflicts. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we use our accomplished negotiation skills in such a way that our decisions and actions remain just and ethical, so that we may never burn bridges.


There are types of negotiations, discussed in today’s leadership and management training, and these are normally tailored to serve a specific purpose. Most notable areas that require negotiations include the legal system, international affairs, industrial or corporate disputes, domestic or marital issues, and many others. Although the specifics of these negotiations tend to vary, the negotiation skills required of those individuals, who participate in them are, more or less, similar.

Let battle commence


Here is a six-step negotiation model:


1. Preparation

Whenever a disagreement arises it is crucial that, before discussing the issue at hand, the leader or manager understands the nature of the disagreement. Elimination of vague areas, and potential sources of ambiguities, is important so that the negotiator can delve into the negotiation process armed with all the essential facts. Negotiation skills can never be fully exhausted, if there is a lack of information in the first place.


2. Discussion

During this stage in the negotiation process the required negotiation skills include listening, questioning, and clarifying, among others. Such actions will inevitably demonstrate active leadership skills. This is the part when both parties get to present and defend their respective case so as issues and concerns are aptly studied and understood by all individuals involved in the process.


3. Clarification

The purpose of clarification is so negotiators can arrive at a common ground. There are many instances, when, despite apparent disagreements, upon closer inspection, both parties are revealed to actually share more similar viewpoints and motivations than actual differences. Clarification is one of the integral elements of negotiation skills, thus it must be given due importance and priority.


4. Win-Win

Ideally, negotiations should strive for a win-win solution. In order to achieve this, upon careful study of the respective concerns of both parties, the opposing sides should agree on compromising certain aspects of their demands in exchange for an alternative settlement. Individuals with effective negotiation skills are normally able to settle disputes without putting another entity on the losing end of the negotiation spectrum; this should be the goal.


5. Settlement

Once a compromise, alternative solution, or ideally, a win-win outcome, has been reached, both parties can now settle the dispute by reviewing all that have transpired, including points that were raised, during the process. It is crucial that both parties are on the same page regarding how all demands must be settled. This will include, what, when, and how the matter, indeed, will be settled.


6. Action

Finally, negotiation skills should branch out to implementation. After a decision has been made, the next step is implementing the necessary actions in service of the reached agreement. Unfulfilled promises will mean a further re-negotiation of terms, more delays and possibly arbitration if not legal intervention, in particular, concerning industrial disputes.


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Nicholas Hill
Nicholas Hill

Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W:




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