Negotiation Reflective Essay

10 October 2016

Through the in-class activities about negotiation, I observed the significant influences that different negotiation tactics have on the result of the negotiation in the workplace. In the activity, I was assigned to play the role of manager Dale Williams who is facing with the challenge of persuading two of his subordinates to wear safety glasses without causing any conflicts. The whole play was reflecting and educational, and I was inspired by having an actual negotiation with my employees and also by observing the others doing the process.

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An evaluation of whether the activity provided you with insights on your natural preferences for different types of influencing tactics; ? Comparisons and connections between: (1) what you are learning and your prior knowledge and experience, and (2) your prior assumptions and preconceptions Before the role play, I was stuck with the thought that negotiation is purely about exchanging resources that mutually benefit both parties. However, my understanding of negotiation has jumped to the next level after the activity since it provided me the insight of choosing the right influencing tactics to match the characteristics of the target audience

My preconception about negotiation was delivering the information that I want to deliver and my focus was on what I can offer as well as what I can get from the other party. Nevertheless, it does not work out well in the activity. Before the negotiation, my natural preferences for influencing tactics would be having informal conversation with my subordinates and hoping that they can understand and obey the regulation, but if it does not work out that way then formal talk with legitimized appeal will be arranged.

During the negotiation, I noticed that rational talk did not work at least effectively. Interestingly, both of the two targets promised to obey orally but in fact they were less likely to wear safety glasses because they thought the talk was not for serious. However, based on my plan B, Pat and Chris had been notified of the legitimized rules regarding to the safety glasses issue through formal paperwork and relevant punishment was also underlined. As the results of the legitimized appeal tactics, Pat Taylor obeyed however Chris Johnson refused and a conflict was potentially caused.

Although the negotiation turns out to be a half failure, my insight on natural preferences for different types of influence tactics is improved. First of all, before engaging in a negotiation, you have to clearly know what the ultimate goal is for the negotiation and all those bargaining skills and tactics should centre on the objective of the negotiation. Second, knowing your negotiation partner well is extremely important and could play a significant role in reaching the goal. Comparing to my prior knowledge, knowing your partner of the negotiation is definitely a noticeable oversight.

Thirdly, after all those preparation work, appropriate influence tactics should be selected to match the characteristics of the other party in the negotiation. For this point, I was much inspired when I saw the others doing the negotiation and they were good at analyzing the negotiation partners and taking advantage of their subordinates’ weakness. For example, one of my classmates used emotional appeal to force Pat Taylor to spontaneously obey and wear the safety glasses by saying that taking the risk of losing the ability to look and see his grandchildren is not wise action and this is because that Pet always talks about his grandchildren.

To deal with Chris Johnson, another classmate who played the role of manager chose to use impression management, because Chris has bad attitude which could possibly be resulted from his strong ego, to convince Chris that he was important and the organization could not afford losing him in that particular position so that safety glasses should be provided to make sure of the safety issue. As a result of the use of this tactic, Chris accepted the offer and obeyed. By observing, I learnt that negotiation tactics should be cautiously selected to match up with partners’ characteristics and effectiveness can be improved once it clicks together.

To make comparison with my prior knowledge of negotiation, what I learnt is that the focus is not on what I can offer and what I can get, it is about what the needs of the other party are and how to fulfill them. However, the connection between what I am learning and my prior assumption is that the ultimate goal of the negotiation should be the center of whole process. What actions do you plan to take based on what you learnt? In the future, I will definitely utilize what I have learnt in the activity.

Before going into a negotiation, I will set a plan including clarifying the objectives, getting to know other side of the negotiation, selecting appropriate influence tactics based on the knowledge of the partner. Particularly, analyzing opponents will be one of my main focuses of preparing for the negotiation since it could help me discover the breakthrough which could potentially help to take the strong position in the negotiation. Because there are quite a few types of influence tactics so that critical analysis of these tactics will be conducted to see the negative and positive results of using each tactics.

Additionally, I will try to utilize these tactics in interpersonal relationship to resolve and cool down conflicts among friends or family. What you found confusing, difficult or interesting about the class activity and why; What I found confused or needed to be improved about the activity is that it did not put me into the stage of getting to know my opponents which was equally important to the tactic matchup. However, it might be difficult to simulate this stage in class but my point is information gathering is very challenging and multiple channels could be used in the organization.

How you solved a problem, reached a conclusion or reached a point of understanding; I used to have a fight with my friend due to some misunderstanding and I really did not want to end up disconnecting with her. So I suggested sitting down with her and in the negotiation we both talked rationally and both admitted there was misunderstanding. I played the impression management card to convince her that she was one of the persons that I looked up to, and then we made peace again.

To conclude, the in-class activity helped me strengthen the skills in negotiation and provided me with a variety of influence tactics that I could use in future. Also, the negotiation changed my prior thoughts regarding negotiation and in the same time it taught me that knowing your enemy would be the first step in preparation for the talk. Through the role play, I realized problems could be solved effectively through using the appropriate tactics for the right partners. To the future, what I learnt definitely could enable me to think thorough and critical when getting ready for a negotiation.

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