To Negotiate Successfully In Team Negotiations… Manage Variables

When negotiating in a team environment, a lack of preparation regarding unanticipated situations and a lack of proper management can put your team in a dire position. If not managed properly, such situations can prove to be the death knell of your team’s negotiation efforts. In part, proper managing occurs when the lead negotiator sets the stage for his team members by instilling in them the insight needed to perform their roles. The following are five quick tips you can implement to manage variables in your team negotiations.

1.    Choose team members with care.

Team members should be chosen for the knowledge they possess, related to the current negotiation, and the cohesiveness they’ll bring to the team. They should not be chosen based on their position, title, or skills they brought to prior negotiations, if such attributes do not add value to the negotiation in which you’re about to enter. Nor should anyone that’s too independent be placed on the team. Someone that’s too independent could prove to be a maverick and a maverick team member could cause more harm to your team than the benefits he brings.

2.    Prior to the negotiation, create role-playing situations.

It might behoove the lead negotiator to create roles that members of the team will play during the negotiation. By doing so, mistakes, as well as visual depictions of what should occur during the real negotiation can be experienced by the team. In the role-playing scenarios, consideration should be given to how the opposing negotiation team will act during the negotiation, and how that team might respond to offers and counter offers. Depending on the overall value of the negotiation, the lead negotiator might consider scripting the role-play.

3.    Consider how you wish to position your team of negotiators.

Do you wish to appear strong, appeasing, or amenable? The way you position your team should be partly based on how you wish to be perceived. Thus, the manner in which your team projects itself should be aligned with the goals of your negotiation efforts. In so doing, you should consider creating the modality that matches the opposing team of negotiators.

4.    Consider who will represent your team.

The team leader does not have to be readily identifiable to the other team of negotiators. Depending on the positioning of your team, it may be advantageous to you not to have your lead negotiator readily identifiable by the other negotiation team. In adopting this tactic, you prevent the other team of negotiators from being able to identify the real power of your team.

5.    Set the manner by which you and your team will communicate during the negotiation.

Set up the manner by which your team can communicate nonverbally during the negotiations. Signals can be established to allow team members to communicate via body language. The purpose of considering how you’ll communicate nonverbally is to be aware of concealing information that might benefit the other negotiation team, if it was verbalized. While nonverbal signals can be perceived by the other team and thus they can gain insight into the direction in which you’d like the negotiation to traverse, nonverbal signals can also be used to misdirect the other team.

Due to shifting variables that can occur in a team negotiation environment, managing team activities during the negotiation has to be vigilant and tightly controlled. To the degree that variables are accounted for, your team can be managed. When managed, fast adaption can be made to the changing environments. In so doing, you’ll be better positioned to achieve the goals of the negotiation. Just be sure you manage as many variables as possible … and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.

 The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • Team negotiation has the potential to become volatile, if team members inject their own agendas into the negotiation. Caution your team about doing so prior to the beginning of the official negotiation.
  • Individual personalities when combined with other personalities take on different characteristics. Be sure that the personalities of your negotiation team are aligned with one another and work together as a team.
  • Give careful consideration as to how many people will participate on your team. Sometimes, too many, or too few people can create situations that prove to be difficult to manage and ineffective to your efforts.
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