Arriving at agreements

An overview of the skills necessary to becoming a successful negotiator

The first prime minister of India, Jwaharal Nehru, once asked “All wars end with negotiations. So why not negotiate immediately?” This describes a fundamental insight into modern civilisation: today, we try to solve our partially opposing interests through dialogue. Debates, considerations and negotiations take place throughout our society, whether in a traditional way at a Turkish bazaar, when buying a car or in the political arena. Negotiations are a crucial success factor for every company, organisation and individual. Everything is a matter of negotiation. The basis for such negotiations is an exact analysis, based on psychological insights, of the parties involved, their attitude, targets and alternatives, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. However, we usually forget to apply this analysis to ourselves and fail to examine our own attitude, defined targets, strengths, weaknesses and lines of negotiation.  Although negotiating is a daily professional task, and negotiations decide success or failure, most people spend little to no time on professional negotiations, the psychological principles involved, as well as strategy in negotiations, its methodology and training to negotiate properly

Thorsten Hofmann

Professor Dr Thorsten Hofmann is a fellow of the Politics and Public Affairs MBA at Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany. He is also manager of the business consultancy Advice Partners and is chairman of both the Crisis Communication Task Force and of the communication network ECCO International Public Relations.