Without effective negotiations, any workplace could turn into an interpersonal relationship minefield. Negotiation skills facilitate smooth working relationships that help forge partnerships, make sales, and get the job done.
Senior management knows that negotiation skills are vital. Forbes reports that soft skills like interpersonal skills and negotiation are increasingly important in business. Practical skills like certificates and degrees may catch a recruiter’s eye, but managers want to hire employees who offer leadership and creatively find win-win outcomes.
But finding talented negotiators can be challenging. Young staff may need more work experience to have perfected their negotiation skills. Veteran staff may have allowed themselves to settle into unproductive soft-skill ruts.
Using a learning management system (LMS), you and your team can practice the interpersonal skills that separate the team leaders from the rest of the pack.
The five essential negotiation skills listed below are key to becoming an effective negotiator. You can use an LMS to deliver negotiation training courses that hone them in yourself and your staff.
1. A negotiation involves active listening
A successful negotiation starts with negotiators who listen closely. They never dismiss the other party’s argument but listen carefully to find common ground.
Active listening involves asking questions and exploring all angles of a situation. In an LMS, you can create immersive active listening scenarios with negotiation training that uses video or web conferencing. Participants can practice their active listening skills and navigate a negotiation process by sharing follow-up question ideas with the group or engaging in assignments that require input from multiple learners.
The ability to hear counter-arguments and pinpoint solutions in a negotiation takes a cool head. Your LMS can help you deliver training that shows your team how to cut through the noise of an argument to find a path forward that works for everyone.
2. Negotiators bring empathy to the negotiation
Akin to active listening, empathy involves valuing others’ beliefs and feelings, even if you disagree with them. Understanding that colleagues are entitled to different opinions is crucial to maintaining smooth, productive working relationships. It’s imperative in effective negotiation.
A group learning environment like an LMS is a great way to train your team to approach their roles more empathetically. Scenario-based videos and web conferencing can help put a human face on frustrations and difficulties. Content created by colleagues can help learners hear viewpoints they hadn’t considered.
Combined with actions like quizzes or assignments, courses in an LMS can help learners practise problem-solving skills and identify the best alternative in a safe, low-risk environment.
3. Negotiators hone their communication skills
Listening to and understanding others’ needs is crucial to achieving solid negotiation skills. But equally important is the ability to communicate your own needs and feelings.
An LMS is an excellent environment for teaching effective communication skills. Learners can submit quizzes and assignments that allow them to show their communication prowess. Instructor feedback will enable them to refine it. Direct messaging and notifications allow instructors and learners to establish mentoring relationships that promote professional, productive communication.
Video and web conferencing tools let learners hone their ability to read nonverbal communication cues from other parties. You can create courses that test learners’ knowledge of nonverbal cues and coach them on drafting an appropriate response to each scenario. Learners who struggle can practice redrafting their responses as often as needed until they can express themselves clearly.
4. A negotiation needs problem-solving
Problem-solving is at once creative and pragmatic. It’s a vital component of any negotiation because it allows parties to reach agreements promoting a win-win outcome.
An LMS can teach problem-solving by guiding learners through a training course that requires creative approaches to problems. In an LMS, learning journeys can walk learners through courses designed to probe their problem-solving skills and encourage critical thinking. After each course, quizzes and tests allow instructors to measure learners’ retention and readiness for the next step in the learning journey.
Group learning also encourages problem-solving, as the crowd’s collective wisdom is often helpful in identifying out-of-the-box solutions. Discussion forums within an LMS are an excellent environment for learners to share ideas and achieve potential solutions. Instructors can moderate discussion or stoke debate, creating an engaging learning environment that fosters dialogue and creativity.
5. Negotiate with persuasion for a win-win
While “persuasion” is often lumped in with soft skills like charm or eloquence, it’s more gutsy than credited. Persuasive people can be charming and eloquent, but they also offer concrete solutions and hard facts that help sway others to achieve an agreement.
Persuasion is powerful in successful negotiations because it combines the patience of an empathetic, active listener with the persistence of a creative problem solver to find convincing solutions.
In an LMS, learners can study the components of a compelling argument and practice presenting them with convincing stats and data. Learners can watch a video course on persuasive speaking and upload their own videos, allowing them to practise their persuasive skills in a tangible, practical way.
Use an LMS to hone negotiation skills
Negotiation training, delivered virtually in an LMS, allows the entire team to refine their negotiation skills no matter where they are. LMS features that train learners to negotiate effectively include:
- Workshops, web conferencing, and live training sessions to promote collaborative learning
- Direct messaging, discussion forums, and message notifications that enable communication
- Certificates, leaderboards, and gamification that promote soft skill learning
- Peer or management feedback via web conferencing
- Digital assessments, including tests, assignments, and quizzes
- Measurement and reporting tools that allow managers to share the training outcome with business stakeholders
You can also use an LMS to train your team on the elements of a negotiated agreement, how to use integrative negotiation, and how to use a structured approach to future negotiations.
And because an LMS offers group learning opportunities, learners can question, discuss and share, even if they work remotely. Forging workplace connections has never been more important, and offering opportunities for live, personal interactions between colleagues help them polish their negotiation skills and cement their professional relationships. Book a tour of LearnRight to explore how a dynamic LMS can help your team elevate their negotiation skills and enrich their workplace relationships.