Effective negotiation skills: Leadership programs that build effective negotiation skills

Effective negotiation skills are simply a must-have for business managers at all levels. You won't get out of the starting blocks if you don't have them… and you're sure to stumble if you don't hone them.

We're not just talking about a job interview, getting a deal from a supplier or client, or during an M & A. Negotiation is not an isolated activity- it is integral to every business interaction, indeed, to any human interaction. That's why any leadership development program you take should include some focus on effective negotiation skills.

Smart negotiating
Smart negotiating starts with smart preparation. Key things to be clear on at the outset include the full context; the available choices; your needs and your potential trade-offs; and the needs of the other party and what they may be willing to give on. Fully understanding your own negotiating style is critical and knowing the other person's is an invaluable bonus.

A second element of smart negotiating that you will learn in a good leadership development program is to stay aware and be tuned in to the particularities of each negotiation experience - because effective negotiation skills are not one-size-fits-all tactics. Finally, smart negotiators leverage their own personal leadership skills and style to ensure they drive the dialogue and influence the dynamics of the interaction.

Negotiation as a core skill
Leadership programs that really build effective negotiation skills help you understand and develop the art of negotiating as a core component of your leadership skills. To learn to do this well:

  • Explore and understand your own leadership style to use it skillfully
  •  - Where do effective negotiation skills sit among the skills you best draw upon?
     - How do you communicate and engage in dialogue?
     - Be driven by your vision

  • Leverage negotiation skills to:
  •  - Inspire others and lead with impact
     - Negotiate well to manage change and complexity
     - Master conflict management

Learning techniques that develop effective negotiation skills
Developing effective negotiation skills is a matter of focus and practice. Experts in corporate training have shown that a number of advanced learning techniques are more suited to negotiation skills training because they force you to use the very skills you use as a smart negotiator. For greater impact, look for leadership programs that primarily use techniques like:

  • Practice, practice, practice: leadership exercises, role-play, intensive interaction among participants
  • Leadership coaching – vital for fine-tuning your best skills and smoothing out bad habits
  • Mindfulness exercises to learn to stay aware in any situation
  • Self-awareness training
  • Focus on human nature and human dynamics – understand others as well as yourself
  • Analysis of case studies, including the most intense negotiation situations

Top business management schools for effective negotiation skills
Knowing what you want is one thing, knowing where to find it is another. Developing effective negotiation skills through leadership programs is an investment that can put you at the centre of the action to drive business results - so it's worth holding out for the best. Independent, respected sources like the Financial Times, The Economist and Forbes publish rankings of the top business schools in the world yearly. They're a great place to start looking for the best leadership programs to build effective negotiation skills.


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Looking to build effective negotiation skills? Check out these IMD programs: