Culture Influences Negotiations

This article by Jeswalde W. Salacuse explains how cultural influences affect negotiation styles. Salacuse states:

"Negotiating styles, like personalities, have a wide range of variation...Ten negotiating traits...can be placed on a spectrum or continuum, as illustrated in the chart below. Its purpose is to identify specific negotiating traits affected by culture and to show the possible variation that each trait or factor may take."

Understanding cultural and other factors affecting the following negotiation traits will enable you to better understand your counterpart and how your negotiating style may be perceived by the person sitting across the table.

Conflict Resolution Skills Kit

"Have you ever had a conflict and wished you could have handled it better?
Conflict comes about from differences - in needs, values and motivations. Sometimes through these differences we complement each other, but sometimes we will conflict. Conflict is not a problem in itself - it is what we do with it that counts.

It is important that we do something because whether we like it or not, conflicts demand our energy. In fact, an unresolved conflict can call on tremendous amounts of our attention. We all know how exhausting an unresolved conflict can be. It is not always easy to fix the problem but a great energy boost can come when we do. Resolving conflict requires skills.

What are Conflict Resolution Skills?
They are the skills that enable us to bypass personal differences and to open up to possibilities. The skills of CR draw us closer to other people, as we jointly search for fair solutions and balanced needs. It involves a powerful shift from adversaries to co-operative partners. In this shift each person benefits.

CR Skills Create Better Work Climates and More Fulfilling Relationships
For the organisational manager, skilful conflict-handling is an important managerial tool. Conflict can be seen as an opportunity for learning more about the company - its bottle-necks and inefficiencies, as well as its areas of expertise. The learning potential of conflict often goes unrecognised when staff and management react with "fight" or "flight". "Flow", the third way, requires Conflict Resolution skills...

The Conflict Resolution Network has put together a toolkit of 12 conflict resolution skills - you can reach in and take out what fits for any occasion. They are: The Win/Win Approach, The Creative Response, Empathy, Appropriate Assertiveness, Co-operative Power, Managing Emotions, Willingness to Resolve, Mapping the Conflict, Development of Options, Negotiation Skills, Third Party Mediation and Broadening Perspectives..."


How Hostage Negotiation Works

"Although hostage situations can vary greatly based on the motivations of the hostage-taker and the exact circumstances surrounding the incident, there are some basic facts that apply to all hostage situations.

The hostage-taker wants to obtain something. This can be as simple as money, personal safety or safe passage to another country, or it can involve complicated political goals.

The target of the hostage-taker is not the hostage; it is some third party (a person, a company or a government) that can provide whatever it is the hostage-taker wants.

The hostages are bargaining chips. They may have symbolic value (as at the 1972 Munich Olympics, in which the target was the Israeli government and the hostages were Israeli athletes), but the hostages themselves could be anyone."

Read more in this article from Howstuffworks.


Negotiation and the Laws of Persuasion

"Being adept at persuasion is often the missing key to success in the workplace and your personal life. If you give people what they want via the Six Laws of Persuasion, they’ll most likely return the favor. And when you recognize that you are being manipulated, you can call the other side on their tactics and counter with an appropriate strategy. This will lead to a more effective way of achieving the goals of all negotiating parties...

Persuasion is the ability to influence people’s thoughts and actions through specific strategies. To become adept at this skill, you must first understand some basic principles, called the Laws of Persuasion. These six laws by themselves are neither good nor bad, but describe how most people respond to certain circumstances.Psychologist Robert Cialdini wrote the seminal book on the Laws of Persuasion, titled Influence:The Psychology
of Persuasion, in which he discusses the prevalent methods of marketing...

Here are Cialdini’s Six Laws of Persuasion:

Law of Reciprocity
Human beings, in general, try to repay in kind what another person has provided to them....

Law of Commitment and Consistency
People like to be (or at least appear to be) consistent in their thoughts, feelings, and actions...

Law of Liking
When you like someone, or believe that they are “just like you,” you are more inclined to want to please them...

Law of Authority
This is the law that uses celebrity endorsements or “expert” testimonials...

Law of Scarcity
If you are not sure you want to buy something, the minute it becomes “the last one available” you tend to have second thoughts...

Law of Social Proof...
You think if others are engaging in a specific behavior, it must be the proper thing to do..."

Read more in this article by Edrie Greer from Bnet.com.


Exploring the Language of Mediation

This research paper from Andrew Rixon, Viv McWaters and Sascha Rixon focuses on the question of “Is there is such a thing as ‘speaking facilitatively’?” Thinking in terms of ecologies of language use, it asks whether there may be a particular style of communication, and language, inherent within the practice of facilitation. Its findings"indicate that facilitators do have an implicit understanding of what it means to ‘speak facilitatively’. Furthermore, this style of speech appears to be based on respect for the group and encompasses linguistic politeness devices..."

The paper includes the following examples of facilitative language:

Setting of ground rules
“Our purpose today…”
“What is the purpose of our meeting?”
“What would be the ideal outcome?”
“Where do you want to have got to when we go out that door?”
“Relax and enjoy the journey”
“Everyone’s opinion is valued, there are no wrong answers”
“All ideas are valued”
“It’s an honour to work with you”

Acknowledging participants’ contributions
“That’s an excellent thought. You are very (sincere praise).”
“That interests me, say more”
“Thank you for sharing”
“Great- good- I like it- excellent- Spot on”

“Say more…”
“Can you say more about…”
“Could you say more?”
“Tell me more about that…”
“Can you tell me more about that?”
“Please, tell me more about that.”
“Yes, please go on.”
“Say more about that if you will…”
“Please tell me more about what you mean when you stated…”
“Tell us a little more about this.”

Garnering participation
“I’m wondering how this might look/appear/feel/seem to you?”
“I invite you to…”
“I’d like to invite you to participate in…”
“Tell me about a time when…”
“I’m curious to know what others think”
“What do others think?”
“Does anyone else have [something]?”

Reflecting and clarifying
“What I have heard is…”
”Am I correct in observing that…”
“So what you’re saying is…”
“What I’m hearing is…Is that right?”
“Please clarify”
“What I hear you saying…”
“Can you help me be more clear in my mind about…”

Good stuff.


Negotiate to Resolve Conflicts:

"All of us engage in many negotiations during a week but that doesn't mean we become better at it. To become better we need to become aware of the structure and dynamics of negotiation and we need to think systematically, objectively, and critically about our own negotiations. After engaging in a negotiation, reflect on what happened and figure out what you did effectively and what you need to do better.

There is no one "best" style; each of us has to find a style that is comfortable for us. Yet, everyone can negotiate successfully; everyone can reach agreements where all sides feel at least some of their needs have been satisfied. This involves a lot of alertness, active listening, good communication skills, great flexibility, good preparation, and above all it involves a sharing of responsibility for solving the problem, not a view that this is "their" problem.

To summarize the most important keys to successful conflict resolution:

*bargain over interests, not predetermined positions
*de-personalize the problem (separate the person from the problem)
*separate the problem definition from the search for solutions
*try to generate alternative solutions; try to use objective criteria as much as possible
*reflect on your negotiations; learn from your successes and mistakes"

Read more in this excellent negotiations overview from Professor E. Wertheim.


When a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

"Visual-Literacy.org is an online introductory tutorial about how data, abstract thoughts, and concepts can be graphically represented to more easily gain useful insights. One of their knowledge map examples is this excellent Periodic Table of Visualization Methods. Rolling your mouse over each form of visualization brings up an example of the technique. It looks like it would very useful if you think a visualization is in order but you're not sure which specific kind to try."

Quotation comes from this Boing Boing post.


Mediation in Organizational Conflict Management

This article from ballew.org contains a good overview of conflict issues within organizations, suggesting useful ways to manage and resolve conflicts before the organization is irreparably damaged. Among the nuggets is this description of mediation and its potential uses within organizations:

"Mediation is a way of handling conflict in which two or more disputing parties meet with trained, impartial mediators in a good faith attempt to resolve their issues. The mediators facilitate an exchange in which the parties clarify the issues, hear each other's perspectives, provide new information and move toward an agreement. The mediators do not impose decisions or give advice. Mediation is a practical process through which the mediator assists the parties themselves to check facts, share feelings, exchange perceptions and ideas, and work toward agreement. In mediation the parties have responsibility for the resolution. An agreement is reached when the parties are satisfied with all of its terms.

Examples of workplace situations in which mediation works well are:

Disputes between co-workers or colleagues who are unable to function together in the workplace environment.

Interdepartmental conflicts.

Communication breakdowns/barriers."


Conflict Dynamics Checklists

For people struggling with difficult conflicts, these checklists from BeyondIntractability for intermediaries and adversaries hghlight conflict dynamics that are helpful to understand, as well as options for dealing with common problems. Topics covered include:

"International Conflict, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Stabilization
Public Policy
Workplace / Organizational Conflict
Interpersonal Conflict"