I recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a workshop on Negotiation Techniques at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference. During the Q&A session I was asked about my presentation point that in my experience there are very few transactional (one time) negotiations. I went on to say that due to this, building relationships is very important as you never know when or how you may interact with the people you are negotiating in the future. In today’s workplaces people frequently move to different positions within organizations or to different organizations and or industries altogether. It is quite amazing to look through your business cards every few years and see how obsolete they have become. Invariably you will encounter people again over the years, even if you travel and work internationally.
In tense and competitive negotiations where one party wants to “win” something over the other, it is easy to become focused on small details and to lose sight of the relationship. Having worked in a trading environment, I experienced these emotions many times; both positive and negative in nature. What I have learnt is that moving away from the competition and focusing on building lasting relationships creates value which far exceeds the original transaction. I suggest focusing less on details such as who gives the first price offer, and more about increasing the overall size of the pie for everyone. The key to this is to focus on the relationship not the transaction and to allow the seedling to grow. A