Negotiations and the people involved in them are going to be managed by someone. Managing a negotiation, all of the parties at the table, requires exceptional people skills to influence and motivate others. Honing these people skills is a sure way to improve your ability to negotiate successfully.
The parties to a negotiation are people. People are unique individuals. To reach them through a debate of the issues requires that you present your case in terms they can readily understand. To effectively communicate with the other person you must understand the person. Not his or her argument but the “person". Researching the other party before the settlement conference can provide valuable details about their background, professional, personal and scholastic. Another way to learn about your adversary is to ask associates or common acquaintances about the person with whom you are about to meet. Finally, the time spent informally talking with the person before a negotiating session serves the purpose of providing insights into how you might phrase your arguments.
An assertive management style can be counter-productive unless it is mitigated by the proper mode of delivery. To lead an informal group you must adopt a subtle manner rather than boldly taking command. You want a management style that enables you to gain control the actions of the group with out confronting the other person and backing him or her into a corner. Rather than commanding try leading the others by informing, educating and convincing them that there are viable options in addition to what they came expecting to achieve.
To influence how others will act or respond requires intervention or management on your part . As they don't work for you and assuming you don't have absolute power in the negotiation, this means you have to make them want to do what you need to have done. This requires leadership. Leadership requires that you win their minds and convince them that doing what you want is in their best interest. Typically settlements arise when the parties become convinced that modest compromise on their part is worth gaining concessions from the other person. A small negotiation manager will seek to define and sell strategic compromises that achieve the needs of the parties. Mediators are adept at this small group management technique and negotiators benefit by applying the mediation techniques of leadership and management in their negotiations.
Managing another person or a small group requires good people skills. Those not within your control must want to listen to you and go along with your suggestions. The personal traits most likely to win favor with an adversary are not those of an adamant, arrogant, ruthless despot. They are more likely to warm to the approaches of a benevolent, sharing, nurturing benefactor. Teaching, coaching and informing are viable tactics to garner the support or at least attention of the other person. by attacking their message or facts you are not attacking them. By adding information to the equation you can inject doubt into their position. By demonstrating how things might work out for them, you offer options to be considered. All of these actions serve to establish your subliminal leadership role.
The author is an assistant editor at How-to-Negotiate.com, a site featuring articles about effective people skills required in the dispute settlement process and how people negotiate everything in their daily lives be it personal issues, parenting matters, social conflicts, or business or work related challenges. The site promotes the fact that conflict is a natural aspect of everyone's life and we should all work at improving our ability to negotiate the curves life throws our way.