Text and Photo By Anna Valmero

Negotiation is a fact of life and everyone is a negotiator in life. So how do you become an effective one?

There are two key questions in each negotiation: first, how do you relate to each other and how you perceive each other (perception is extremely important), said Dr. Katharina Kone, DiploFoundation trainer and lecturer.

Imagine negotiation as if pushing against someone with all your might to gain space for your extended arms. That feeling of pushing and being in a direct opposition with someone is something you want to avoid in a negotiation, said Kone during a workshop during the opening day of the 7th Model ASEM held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Here are some tips from Dr. Kone to develop effective negotiation skills:

Think outside the box. When approaching difficult situations, especially during multilateral meetings, remember this when trying to come up with solutions.

Be a puzzle solver. It means you are on a journey together and common cause to solve a problem and your counterpart as partners in the spirit of creativity.

Remember: The other side is not your enemy. Watch for the moment you become defensive via body language or how you phrase things. Keep in mind that the goal of negotiation meetings involves creating partnerships so stakeholders can arrive at a common goal that is mutually beneficial for everyone. Focus on their interest and yours, and see how you can combine the two.

Don’t be afraid of a NO. Hearing a “no” should not signal the end of a discussion. A no can become a yes (or a partial agreement) by providing an avenue to clarify the cause for disagreement and to find possible means of agreement. For example, during the 2015 Paris climate summit, a rapporteur may inquire if a country disagrees with a provision on the draft text because it fails to capture the impact of climate change as an issue related to human rights.

In addition to understanding the benefits of negotiation skills, Global Shapers’ Katherin Hermans urged students to learn the art of public speaking and to always deliver an authentic message.

“The act of negotiations is like dividing a pie—you divide it so that everyone gets an equal piece of the pie,” said Hermans.

To voice your interests during a negotiation, preparations to draft a position document and the actual delivery of the message are important, said Hermans.

Learn effective communication and public speaking skills. Communications is an important skill as we interact in a globalized world. Learning interpersonal communications and public speaking skills are important so students are able to understand other culture and gain a more holistic perspective of an issue that is relevant in fostering understanding and cooperation.

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