Introduction to Negotiation

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CENAD’s approach to Negotiation

“Negotiation is a process whereby the representatives of the concerned parties meet and try to find (an) arrangement(s) on (an) issue(s) of mutual concern” Robert Weibel, 1993

Negotiation involves several issues of

  • Legitimate representation
  • Power to make and implement commitments
  • Possible or probable failure staring you in the face
  • Setting and handling of agendas

It also requires the management of a process involving multiple issues and multiple actors having numerous and dynamic positions, interests and evolving priorities over time.

Negotiation is a process including bilateral negotiation at its core, and multilateral, presidency and mediation at its periphery.

Negotiation process

Bilateral Negotiation

The bedrock of negotiation is bilateral as the representatives of relevant parties engage in an exercise of joint decision-making on issues of mutual interest. Apart from the more structured and well-known formal meetings, much bilateral work takes place internally and informally with colleagues or institutional partners.

Multilateral Negotiation

Increased complexity comes in the form of multilateral situations whereby negotiators conduct multiple sequential bilateral meetings (usually informally), and operate in multiparty meetings.

Presidency – Role of the Chairperson

Multilateral negotiation take place in more formal settings (e.g. committees, working parties) with a presidency function performed by a chairperson whose enhanced negotiation skills help improve overall understanding of vital issues, organize a dynamic process and ultimately help lead to closure at a particular level.

Facilitation or Mediation

If and when deadlock occurs (the parties are unable or unwilling to move on substantive and/or procedural issues), facilitation or mediation may come to the rescue.

Skillful Negotiator

The complete negotiator is therefore a person of many skills who needs to operate in various settings and situations with various counterparts.
CENAD offers training to help negotiators achieve a successful decision making-process, which requires identifying the potentials and risks of negotiation, as well as practicing the tools needed to develop and create jointly workable outcomes in the long term.

Most analysts of negotiation focus on a 4-point system of: Inter-linked Parties – Outcome – Context – Process. However, more attention needs to be paid to the Process Dimension, or how the Process can be developed to deal with the substantive issues which may – or may not – comprise the Outcome.

While negotiation training must strike a balance between theory and practice, CENAD offers interactive “practical immersion” sessions defining the essential components and skills of negotiation and creating the context for them to be developed and practiced.