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The reason why a lot of prior preparedness is done before the actual business negotiation is to ensure that there is a flow of events during the actual phase of negotiation. The main steps that are followed by the parties to the negotiation are drawn from the activities that are done prior to business negotiation, like planning and rehearsal. In this paper, the key steps and strategies that are used during the actual negotiation are discussed.
The paper begins by bringing out the desired steps during the opening of business negotiations. This is followed by a discussion about the vital steps to be adhered to in conducting the actual negotiation. In addition, the steps that ought to be followed in closing the negotiation session are brought out in the discussion. The discussion ends with an exploration of the attributes of a negotiation that entail a non-American partner in the negotiation.
Key steps in opening a business negotiation session
The opening of business negotiation is a critical step since it is the determinant of the mood and the pace that is set for the negotiation. Business negotiations often take place on formal grounds. Therefore, the first step in business negotiation is to ensure that all the parties to the negotiation are identified and introduced. It is important to engage a trained mediator to lead the negotiations owing to the fact that business negotiations are formal.
This emanates from the fact that firms are highly driven by the profit motive, which can be a hitch during the negotiations and probably resulting in a stalemate. Therefore, the importance of a mediator, probably a person who has established a reputable profile in leading business negotiations, is critical. The negotiator helps is steering the process by moderating the interests on each side to attain mutuality in terms of the objectives of each party (Lewicki & Hiam, 2006).
According to Cellich and Jain (2012), introduction of the parties to the negotiation is often followed by introduction of the main issue to negotiate about. Business negotiations revolve around issues like business mergers and negotiations, as well as business contracts. Therefore, comprehending the key negotiation issue is important as far as setting of the continuity of the negotiation is concerned.
The parties to the negotiation have to comprehend the key negotiation issues before getting into the formal talks to help in focusing the negotiation and avoid side interests that derail the process from focusing on the main attributes of the negotiation.
Each side to business negotiations come on the table with an idea of what they need to negotiate about, thus the explanation of the key issues is an emphasis on the need for the parties to draw and support their arguments based on the key issues only as they seek to secure the broader business goals and objectives from the negotiation (Cellich & Jain, 2012).
The main parties to the negotiation also have to be given a chance to explain their goals and objectives as they appertain to the negotiation. This happens when each party is given a chance to present their case. This entails the explanation of the objectives of a firm, as well as what the firm is willing to give up to foster successful progression of the negotiation.
The mediator can help to note down the cases for each firm so that they can be used as a point of reference in the main negotiation phase. The rules and code of conduct are rolled down in order to guide the behavior of each party as the negotiation progresses (Lewicki & Hiam, 2006).
Key steps in conducting a business negotiation session
According to Dutta and Folden (2012), the actual negotiations phase elicits a lot of arguments that are supported by the documented evidence that comes from the research that is done by the parties during prior stages of negotiation. Negotiations entail deployment of different persuasive tactics and techniques, most of which are based on the knowledge of each team.
The first thing in the actual negotiation is definition of the relationship between the parties. The relationship between parties is founded in the attributes of business that link the goals and business interests of the parties. When the parties understand the relationship that prevails between them, it becomes easy for each party to pursue its interests with the consideration of the interests of the other party.
This is vital since it helps to set apart the interests of the parties as aligned with the negotiation. The firms also understand the value of mutuality as outlined in the business objectives of each firm that is party to the negotiation. The acceptable modes of communication are then outlined to guide the manner in which the parties present their cases and arguments (Cellich & Jain, 2012).
After setting the rules on the modalities of engagement, the negotiation progresses by focusing on the interests. The interests of each party are contained in their arguments. Each party is left to bring out its argument, from which the interests are identified. Identification of interests leads to the other critical step, which is exploration of options.
This is the core part of negotiation since rationalization of issues is done as each party engages in a give and take exercise in order to propel the process towards a successful conclusion. The development of a common ground in business negotiations depends on the level at which each partner is willing to absorb the interest of the other firms as they work on modalities of ensuring that each firm gains out of the deal that is reached.
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Dovetailing of each party’s business has the potential to lead to mutual gains. This is the ultimate goal of forging business negotiations. Negotiation calls for the parties to explore one issue completely and reach an agreement over the issue before progressing to the next issue. This is called successive progression (Lewicki & Hiam, 2006).
Key steps in closing a business negotiation session
Business negotiation is a continuous process. In this sense, it is important to make substantial conclusions or agreements, which act as part of the final conclusion and agreements that will be reached after completion of the negotiation process. Therefore, there has to be an assessment and recording of the progress reached during that session before any session is closed. This aids in offering a leeway for the negotiators to focus on other issues as they move towards conclusion of the process.
Therefore, the first step in closing a business negotiation session is to ensure that a recap of the issues that are negotiated during the session is done. This helps in the identification of the progress in terms of the agreements reached and the hitches encountered. Complete agreements have to be separated from pending contentious issues because agreements form part of the concluded sub-processes, while the contentious issues still form the subjects of negotiation in progressive sessions.
This is followed by setting of the agenda for the proceeding sessions. The agenda for the proceeding session is set by giving priority to the pending issues. The pending issues denote underlying problems whose solutions must be sought by the parties. This paves way for the parties to progress to other issues set out by the mediator (Dutta & Folden, 2012).
Business negotiation in the international context
Shi (2001) observed that business negotiations that involve parties from different business cultures are quite complex because of variations in the attributes of business that are embraced by each party.
Engaging in business negotiations that involve parties from outside the United States requires comprehension of the context within which international business negotiations take place. The first thing in such a situation is identification of variations between the business culture of the United States and the business culture from which the non-United States’ party comes from.
Each country has set a culture that defines the accepted codes of behavior that ought to be adhered to by firms engaging in business practices and deals. Therefore, it is important to hire a mediator who has a background of the business culture in which the parties are drawn from. This can aid in setting standards of negotiation that are acceptable to both parties, thereby avoiding an early stalemate that is common in such negotiations (Shi, 2001).
Cellich, C., & Jain, S. C. (2012). Practical solutions to global business negotiations. New York, NY: Business Expert Press.
Dutta, A., & Folden, H. W. (2012). Winning strategies: Secrets to clinching multimillion-dollar deals. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons, Asia.
Lewicki, R. J., & Hiam, A. (2006). Mastering business negotiation: a working guide to making deals and resolving conflict. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Shi, X. (2001). Antecedent factors of international business negotiations in the China context. MIR: Management International Review, 41(2), 163-187.