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What are negotiations?

Negotiations can be tough, they can be complex processes, especially for those without the appropriate skill sets. But what is a negotiation? Well it is defined as "Any communication between two or more persons with an intention to influence or persuade."

Or as is easier to say, "It is the art of letting the other side have YOUR way."


Who uses negotiations?

It is a crucial skill in business and management, and we all do it every day. We negotiate every day in life with family and friends, in law and business, political life. More obviously we negotiate in Deal Making, Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving. HR managers use negotiations to settle disputes, managers and business owners negotiate to get a better deal for the company, trade unions negotiate to resolve industrial disputes that benefit all parties as a whole.


Benefits to negotiations?

Negotiations can provide increased value in reaching the best deal possible from the options, which makes both parties better off, or at least one better off without making the other worse off.


Problems with negotiations:

If they are not approached in the right manner, negotiations often fail, deals are not made, disputes grow, relationships become damaged, money and time are wasted or money is left on the table, the deal is not maximised. This is because most people approach negotiations in the wrong way, they lack preparation, are unaware of how their behaviour affects the other party, and they view negotiation as purely distributive, a zero sum game, where one side wins, one side must lose. These are cultural norms that trap us all.


"In deals and disputes, Tom Murray skillfully identifies issues in contention, develops options that expand the pie, and helps clients not to leave money on the table. He has a wonderfully straightforward and approachable manner that enables him to get to the heart of the matter quickly, while still ensuring that people feel heard. He was a standout participant in the Harvard Negotiation Institute and has a bright future in mediation and negotiation."

Jennifer W. Reynolds - Assistant Professor of Law and Lecturer at the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiations.

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