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Introduction to Negotiation

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Negotiation is a soft skill we all need to develop. Now, we’ve been social beings on this planet, so we’ve negotiated a few things along the way. I remember negotiating with my parents about my curfew, I remember negotiating with my child about brussels sprouts. And we do lots of negotiations at work. There are two levels of negotiations. There are low stakes negotiations where the outcome isn’t necessarily that important and the parties aren’t very nervous about it or committed to it, and it’s okay, we’re just going to negotiate around this point.
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But then there are high stakes negotiations, whether it’s big money, whether it’s a topic that sensitive, whether it’s an outcome that’s very important about education or who you’re going to marry or where you’re going to live. Those negotiations are high stakes negotiations. And when we’re talking about high stakes negotiations, there are certain skills that we need to develop in order to ensure that we’re engaging effectively and getting the outcomes that work for everyone. One of the tricks to negotiation is understanding that different cultures and different societies negotiate differently, the rules are different. So a negotiation strategy you might use in the United States might be offensive in another culture and vice versa.
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So we need to be sensitive about the cultural implications of negotiation and learn about those things so that we can be more effective. The second major influence in negotiation is men and women tend to negotiate differently, gender actually has an impact on how a negotiation goes. If you can not only develop a negotiation skill set, but also an understanding of how negotiation is different in different cultures or from different gender perspectives, you’ll be a much more skilled negotiator whether you’re in a low stakes environment or a high stakes environment. So let’s take a look at some keys to good negotiating.

In highly interconnected systems, our need to negotiate well is heightened. Negotiating is a fine art, and the best negotiators are those that seek win-win solutions. You already have some negotiation skills. We have all negotiated with parents, friends and partners to seek a compromise. Now is the time to take that informal knowledge, and learn about the true art behind effective negotiations.

Although these two videos make similar points, we have selected them because they demonstrate the gender differences we find in negotiation. Studies have shown gender can play a role in both the decision to engage in a negotiation, and the way in which it plays out. These differences are instructive, however, we shouldn’t fall victim to stereotyping negotiation styles by gender. Each individual is going to develop their own style. The bottom line is, if we are going to be effective at building partnerships to achieve the SDGs, we need to learn to become good problem solvers and negotiators.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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