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Negotiating Training – The ‘Getting to Yes’ strategy

‘Getting to yes’ is an approach designed to lead to agreement:

  • Put yourself in their shoes.
  • Don’t deduce their intentions from your fears.
  • Don’t blame them for your problem.
  • Discuss each other’s perceptions.
  • Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process.
  • Make your proposals consistent with their values to help save face.

Fisher, Roger, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton. Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. (Penguin Paperbacks 1991) 2nd edition

I think that ‘Sensitivity to the Needs of Others’ plays the most important role in this approach.

Sensitivity to the Needs of Others

An open and non-judgmental approach, which respects other, people and cultures.  Good listening skills and empathy.

Volunteers are placed in situations where people they are living and working with are likely to have different beliefs, behaviors, values and norms to their own.  Volunteers need to be aware of, and sensitive to, these differences.  With time this enables a better adjustment to their placements, helps them understand, cope with and respond diplomatically to frustrations, which may be caused by being in an environment, which is different to their own.

Sensitivity in interpersonal relationships e.g.

  • Caring attitude
  • Caring response to other candidates
  • Effects of separation/absence considered

Diplomatic response to cultural difference e.g.

  • Awareness/experience of different cultures
  • Able to keep views (e.g. on politics/sex/religion) to self

Aware of own values and limitations e.g.

  • Aware of limitations of own understanding

Accepts and values diversity

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Negotiating in Ethiopia – What skills are required?  Will they be difficult or easy to use?

Negotiating SkillsNegotiating requires considering one’s counterpart’s power base and one’s own power base.  Who supports you?  Who supports them?

There are a number of negotiating skills to apply while in the field.  Some are easier to implement than others.

 On the easier side of implementation

Planning and Prep

Planning and preparation involves knowing something about the parties involved in the negotiation.  I assume that teaching at a Teacher’s College will involve dealing with the College administrative staff and instructors, as well as trying to serve the interests of the student teachers.

The planning and preparation is slotted in the ‘Easy’ bin because it is easier to know what to look for:  try to learn something about what each party in the negotiation is interested in.

Exploring needs and options during negotiation

This will require keen listening to the needs of the community.  I hope that there is an opportunity at the outset of the placement to engage in community consultation.

Working Towards Solutions

I do not know if this will be easy, but it is easy to know to prepare for disagreement at this stage.  I will endeabour to address the problem without attacking the people.

Closing

It will be important to remember to summarise the main points of any agreements reached.  It will be necessary to make a concise statement of how I understand the agreement and to confirm the details.

On the more difficult side of implementation – Are there background issues which will affect negotiation?  It’s difficult to know about background issues in detail as a newcomer.

Establishing the context of the negotiation

It is difficult to imagine the context of the negotiation without meeting the stakeholders.

When things are tough

Tough negotiations are inevitable and it is difficult to deal with the stress of difficulty whilst living in difficult circumstances.  It will be important to remember strategies for dealing with conflict and disagreement.

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