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When there is a dialogue in between two or more parties that addresses the issues of all the concerned parties leads to a solution that is acceptable by all is called Negotiation. The dynamics of such discussions and dialogue is not monotonous it revolves around the principle of give and take.

Each party put forward their concerns, issues, and solutions that benefit one or all the parties concerned. It is not necessary that negotiations are formal but happen on day to day basis for example in a workplace, negotiations may take place between managers, departments, colleagues or between a team member and a manager. When we talk about legal negotiations some examples are during a formation of a contract between two or more parties where there is due consideration of and performance of each or one party involved.

Negotiation skills have the objective of finding a solution which helps parties achieve the common objective.

In the workplace, you may have to display your negotiating skills in various situations such as:
  • Negotiating a salary raise with the HR manager after promotion
  • Negotiating a project deadline with your team lead or manager
  • Negotiating few days off for a family holiday with your manager
  • Negotiating contract terms with a potential customer

It plays a crucial role and its infectiveness may affect the business or the performance of individual or a company, further leading to many drastic outcomes like disrupted customer relationship. When the is a conflict there is negotiation. This one to one relationship between the both can have variable outcome depending upon negotiations skills.

This objectives of skill set have many variable factors such as work environment, ability to compromise without causing damages to your concerned party or oneself, formation of solutions that helps into collective as well as self-interest, flexibility and one to one relationship in between parties.

The group or individuals involved in the practise of negotiation need to resistant at the interest of their representation make sure that interest also protecting their values and respect. This skill set depends on the work environment, the parties involved and outcome desired. Often, when one party is ready for reaching a compromise, the other party may be resistant. This makes negotiation difficult and you are likely to encounter such situations in the workplace.

Benefits of negotiation skills
Negotiations is a deep root to leadership and it plays an essential role in a leaders' objective, and this can be further extended to business and its objectives.

Here are a few reasons negotiation skills are essential in the workplace:
Builds a relationship:
Despite the difference in opinion, negotiation skills help strike a solution and focus more on creating goodwill and value. This builds a long-term relationship.

Delivers excellent solutions:
Good negotiation skills ensure that solutions to the conflicts are not short-term. It focuses on creating long-lasting solutions because both parties make a concession only when the solution is satisfactory.

Avoids future conflicts:
As both parties agree to a common solution, the chances of future conflicts reduce to a great extent.

Create an environment of business success:
Good negotiation skills ensure the accomplishment of business goals, which creates an environment of business success. This also increases the chances of future business transaction.

Examples of negotiation skills
Without communication the negotiation cannot be carried hence it is the backbone of negotiation. The manner in which the negotiator communicates varies individually and decides the fate of the negotiation. It involves identifying the nonverbal cues, using the right words and expressing objectives and points in a compelling and engaging way.

By keeping in mind the verbose, it is essential to communicate the right message to the party. It is essential that the negotiator to be an active listener that help them understand the other party's message. A healthy conversation ensures a mutually beneficial deal and avoids misunderstanding that could prevent the parties from reaching a compromise.

The unpredictability of the outcomes has another aspect where the other party disagree with the solution provided. It is considered better to have one or more backup plans for a better outcome. It is essential to consider all solutions to the problem from both the ends before entering a negotiation.

Planning is extremely responsible step in the preparation to ensure the long term impacts as well as consequences of the negotiation terms purposed. There is never enough planning hence to having practicality of the situation and practical approach to the plan is extremely important for the execution of the decision.

Negotiation is having another principle attached to it called the persuasion skills. It makes it easy possession of the persuasion skills to carry forward otherwise it turns a bit difficult to justify how the solution proposed will be in interest of both the parties. Persuasion skills decide whether the other party agrees to offered solution.

The negotiation is not just about speaking but also about actively listening to other party and essential to understand the details and do not miss out on crucial information, which builds trust and helps reach a consensus faster.

Negotiation skills reflect the problem solving ability because the negotiators involved propose solutions to an issue and excellent problem-solving skills, you propose viable and intelligent solutions that are beneficial for both parties.

Emotional intelligence
Every individual has emotions and they tend to come out when a person understands a situations and or has an attachment with the issue being discussed. Hence the emotions need to be kept in check so that the other party does not take advantage or gets offended by the negotiator. Emotional intelligence can accurately perceive and express their emotion, recognise others' emotions and use these emotions to facilitate solutions.

Types of negotiation strategies
The negotiation strategies or approaches to negotiation you use depends on your situation. Most workplace negotiation are "win-lose" or "win-win". Here are 4 types of negotiation strategies:
  1. Distributive negotiation
    It is also sometimes called "hard bargaining" because both parties argue over a single conflict. Distributive negotiation is a win-lose strategy because each party considers that their loss would benefit the counterparty. For example, when purchasing a SaaS tool, you may not want to lower the price as it would cause financial loss, whereas your customer feels you are overcharging them for your product by not giving discounts.
  2. Integrative negotiation
    It is also sometimes called "interest-based bargaining" because it asserts that both parties can gain something and create value by offering trade-offs. This is a win-win strategy because the negotiation creates mutual gains for both parties. For example, when purchasing a SaaS tool, you quote the price as Rs 2,000 per month, but the customer is adamant about paying only Rs1,600 per month. Both you may negotiate Rs1,800 per month price. It is a win-win situation because both parties win Rs200 per month.
  3. Negotiation with co-workers
    Your job may require working closely with different departments and without strong negotiation skills, it might be difficult for you to reach your goals. For example, when working as a software developer, a test automation engineer may flag a part of your code as a critical error. When you negotiate with the automation engineer, you both agree that the error is no longer valid because of the product's changed functionality. As a result, you develop a plan to ensure such instances do not happen again.
  4. Negotiation with management
    One of the most challenging types of negotiation is with your manager or senior management. Often, you negotiate with such senior-level people for your job duties and salary benefits. This is a crucial workplace negotiation because your job satisfaction depends on it. Therefore, when negotiating about your salary and other perks, be clear and polite with what you expect.

Background for negotiation
Prepare for the negotiation
Before entering into negotiation it is important to do study of all the aspects such as; background, matter at hand, benefits, merits, de merits, impacts both positive and negative, concerns of the other parties, and many more.

Be ready to compromise
Compromise is essential for the parties but keeping in mind the interest of the representation. Common consensus may or may not be according to one party but art of compromise with its principles intact.

Timeline is very important for protecting the resources because bigger the timeline and the longer the resources are invested. Hence setting a deadline is monetarily beneficial and greater the motivation to achieve the goals. Setting a deadline or timeline motivates the parties to reach a compromise before the deadline.

Offer multiple solutions
Because of the variable requirements of all the parties it is essential that the negotiator offers more than one many or rather multiple solutions that can solve the conflict. The more option you provide the stronger it shows because of the flexibility that enables into better participation of the other parties. It saves time, energy and increases the probability of both parties choosing one solution of their preferred outcome.

Confidence and body language shows the other negotiator about how one conducts itself and sometimes shows your weakness. Hence it is essential that negotiator maintains confidence and speak confidently while making valid points and the make the other parties believe that solution offered by the negotiator is best and works in interest of all concerned. Lack of confidence and self-assurance could result in negotiation terms that are more beneficial for the other party.

The outcomes of the negotiation are not definite at all. It may benefit the individual by having their solution acceptable or may not entirely. This inconsistence due to many factors again such variable requirements of the parties involved hence may affect the compromise made by the parties.

Other skills leading to negotiation
There are many other skills that play a crucial role in your negotiation such as planning, communication, persuasion, problem-solving and listening skills. It is essential to work on these skills as well. The power of persuasion is key to make others listen to you and helps and keeping the objectives intact.

Practise negotiation
Practise is the best way that can improve the negotiation skills. In order to practise there are multiple ways such the mock negotiation scenarios, everyday scenarios, extracurricular activities, competitions, and many more. The more experience one has the more confidence it reflects and gives a better view of the objectives and opens one's mind different interpretations all together.

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