Smith Brain Trust / August 16, 2022

Strategy, Psychology Behind Effective Negotiating

Maryland Smith Experts Give Insights from Forthcoming ‘Negotiation Skills’ Workshop

Strategy, Psychology Behind Effective Negotiating

Negotiation at work is constant – whether with customers, colleagues or bosses. Professionals at all levels should be ready to “think on their feet” when the next situation arises to negotiate – whether in product pricing, partnership agreements or the next job offer, says Professor of Management and Organization Vijaya Venkataramani at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

“There is a myth about negotiation: that it’s a skill you are born with that cannot be developed. This creates a lot of anxiety. You feel inadequate, uncomfortable or anxious when put in a negotiation situation,” says Venkataramani, co-director of “Building Negotiating Skills” – a three-day professional certificate course from November 2-4, 2022, at the Maryland Smith Washington DC campus in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The workshop-based program will involve experiential exercises and real-life simulations that cover a broad spectrum of workplace negotiation simulations, Venkataramani says. The activities further are designed “to bust the myth that good negotiators are born, not made.”

But it’s not about learning how to “win” at any cost, says program co-director Rellie Derfler-Rozin, associate professor of management and organization at Smith. “The goal is to learn how to get to a place where you are happy with the negotiation outcome, and your partner is also happy with the outcome and wants to negotiate with you further in the future. This is an invaluable skill in the dynamic business environment, in which reputation builds very quickly and is very important to maintain.”

What’s crucial to success in negotiations, she says, is for “both parties to shy away from the idea that if one side is getting more, the other must be coming out worse for wear.”

In accordance with that, Derfler-Rozin, who has extensively researched and taught about effective negotiating, gives three keys:

Don’t have a zero-sum mindset. “Don’t think about negotiations as a ‘fixed pie,’ where if one side gains a larger slice, the other side is losing. Instead, think about how you can expand what you are offering and asking for so that everyone leaves satisfied.”

Decide what’s most important. “Both sides can win if they prioritize the factors most important to them. Chances are, those aren’t the same things, and with a successful give-and-take based on those priorities, both sides can gain in a negotiation.”

Finish strong. “You want to finish a negotiation in a situation where the other party highly respects you as a competent problem-solver who tries to create value for both sides.”

Video: Rellie Derfler-Rozin and Vijaya Venkataramani explain “Building Negotiation Skills.”

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