Conducting Negotiations. How to Negotiate Cleverly and Gain More?

We are all involved in conducting negotiations – every day, almost every hour. Business dealings, political disagreements, the division of responsibilities within the family, decision-making about spending free time, hoping and asking for someone’s hand in marriage – there is no end in sight. If we are doing this continually, we should be masters in conducting discussions, shouldn’t we? 

Unfortunately, we don’t always end up being like that – we argue and nit-pick, we’re stubborn, don’t know how to find a solution that’s acceptable to everyone, and we spend a long time procrastinating when solving our differences of opinion. Often, we are unable to go beyond primitive haggling or dealing within narrow frameworks. As a result we ruin our relationships, lose where we could have won, and don’t notice or use the opportunity to obtain more. 

Can negotiating skills be gained and improved? Of course they can!

No matter how specific the area may be, all negotiating situations have a unified structure and basic elements. They are equally present when negotiating with a market trader about a punnet of strawberries, or when engaging in a refined discussion with partners and consultants about purchasing shares in a company. The key to productive negotiations is hidden in a considered and strategic approach – knowing what I want to achieve, finding out what the other party wants and being clearly aware of what is currently happening within the discussion. This applies equally to simple two-way dealings and to complex, long-term negotiation processes with many parties involved.

The “Conducting Negotiations. How to negotiate cleverly and gain more?” course with the assistance of practical examples and role play will reveal the elements (the bricks) of conducting discussions and the skills (foundations), from which effective negotiation develops. Here everything has its place – the negotiating approach and questioning using both cunning means and sincere openness. It is important for those conducting negotiations to be clearly aware of their goals and to be able to select the best from a number of solutions to satisfy their interests. 

At the training session we will be mainly discussing a method developed by specialists from Harvard University (USA) – the Mutual Gains Approach. The use of this approach in training and practice helps in the development of skills. These approaches promote skills that allow a manager to reach agreements and resolve disputes faster, more effectively and more sustainably.

Target audience: Anyone who conducts discussions with their subordinates, colleagues, customers and cooperation partners, with government institutions and others on a daily basis.

Aim of the course: To provide participants with methodology that can be of practical use and self-confidence that would allow them to successfully handle a variety of discussions so that at the end parties would have served their interests, reached sustainable agreements that can be carried out and improved mutual relationships.

Gains - participants will learn how to:

  • Create the conditions for developing mutual trust;
  • Neutralize the impact on a successful outcome of the discussion by lack of information, bluffing and psychological pressure;
  • To recognize the declared positions of the discussion partner and your own and separate them from the real needs and interests;
  • To promote an exchange of crucial information about the needs of both parties and achieve a much better and more sustainable negotiation outcome than usual;
  • Successfully resolve disagreements and discharge conflict situations.

Duration: 2 days, 12 hours.

Method: Lecture 25%, discussions 25%, practical examples and role plays 50%.

The pedagogical method of this course is based on participatory learning or experiential method: newly acquired theoretical knowledge and understanding of method are supplemented and reinforced by experience gained from realistic role plays and case analysis, using the mutual gains and ADR methods.


1. Basic elements of conducting negotiations.

To conduct negotiations successfully, it is necessary to have an understanding and command of the basic elements of the process: BANA (best alternative of negotiated agreement), anchors, interests, solution packages etc.

2. "Good practice" of conducting discussions.

If we want to understand the differences between different strategies of solving disagreements, we must look at our understanding of a skilful and good way of conducting negotiations and basic assumptions behind it. What is your style of conducting negotiations?

3. “Positional bargaining model”.

Before getting acquainted with the mutual gains approach, it is worth it to spend some time on the most common model for conducting negotiations and resolving disputes, analyze its effectiveness and usability. That will help us to understand the difference between defending interests and positions and the difference in outcomes.

4. A good outcome.

A good outcome of negotiations is, of course, an agreement. Yet the range of agreement is infinite. We will look both at the outcome criteria important to participants and the ones offered by the approach of mutual gains.

5. Mutual gains approach.

We will look at the principles of the mutual gains approach both theoretically (in the lecture and discussion) and practically (through examples, role plays and situations topical for the participants):

  • Know your alternative (BANA);
  • Put your emphasis on interests instead of positions;
  • Come up with mutually beneficial solutions;
  • Insist on objective criteria;
  • Separate people from the problem – solve the problem instead of criticizing people.

6. Anatomy of conflicts and disputes.

Analysis of conflict situations based on theory and experiences of participants, taking into account the peculiarities in people's perceptions, individual and systemic factors. We will define the main problems in resolving disagreements.

7. Multi-party negotiations and forming coalitions.

We will find out what the important changes are in the dynamics of the negotiations which we are conducting, as soon as a third party appears at the negotiation table and we’ll discuss the principles of forming coalitions and their significance in the negotiation strategy.

8. Conclusion.

Feedback and discussion about the use of the mutual gains method on a daily basis and practical recommendations for improving negotiation management with difficult partners.

TRIVIUMS training centre, Blaumaņa 11/13 - 12, IV, Riga

Participation fees include handouts, coffee breaks and lunch.

For company training, the programme can be adapted for the specifics and needs of the company.

  • Main conclusions from the training or 3 things you will definitely use from now on:

    • To prepare prior to the discussion. To be flexible, experiment, test the boundaries. Considering alternatives.
    • Stand for one’s desired result more insistently. More careful preparation before a meeting or gathering. Being certain about alternatives before meeting, not after.
    • Finding out the other’s wishes, not being afraid of announcing one’s wishes/conditions first.
    • Find out the other party’s alternatives. Establish the other party’s interests. Achieve your desired goal.
    • Looking for alternatives. Listening to your conversation partner. A positive approach.
    • One should find out the alternatives. The problem gets solved without the person being put down. Talk it over, listen, understand.
    • LAVA, emphasis on interests, not on positions, evaluating the opponent’s case.
    • Seeking alternatives. Don’t talk about deficiencies, but instead about benefits. Try to find out your partner’s strengths/weaknesses.
    • Interests. Alternatives. Don’t be the first to name the price.
    • Know alternatives and use them in your favour. Get to know what the other party wants. Know how to step back, if you really can’t fulfil your ambitions.
    • Listen attentively, hear, understand.
    • To carefully prepare for negotiations. To take more care in interests and finding out alternatives. Don’t get obsessed with the one detail.  
    • Understanding what I want, believing in it and striving for my goal.

    What did you like best in this seminar?

    • Benefits of practical activities with strangers, as their behaviour cannot be predicted.
    • I was expecting a different content, but what I received was even better.
    • It’s hard to identify anything that I didn’t like. Very good organization and topic for the lecture, plus the presenter’s qualifications and attractive nature. 
    • I can see real opportunities to apply the information provided and the experience in practice. Interesting practical tasks. Thanks to the presenter. It was worth it. 
    • Feedback from the presenter on any question – a precise and substantiated answer. A convincing presentation. 
    • A pleasant, unforced atmosphere.
    • Lunch, an exchange of opinions with others. 
    • An effective approach is the organization of a course, where there are practical activities and not just theory.
    • A lot of clever people took part in these courses, a lot of smart views and ideas, and consequently there was an opportunity to get additional information to that provided by the presenter.
    • A lot of training – ideal! Comparing oneself before and after (the knowledge gained). Thanks!
    • Atmosphere, role-playing and exercises, a knowledgeable presenter, great participants.
    • I enjoyed the overall atmosphere, the method of presentation, how information was presented, the fact that something close to real situations was achieved and information was very rich and diverse.
    • The role-playing and the subsequent analysis, and understanding what I did wrong and what I should do differently.

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