Negotiation is a critical business skill for all sectors of an organization, from sales representatives to high-level leadership. However, for an optimal learning experience, a negotiation course or program requires more than PowerPoint lectures and worksheets.
For a negotiations skills training course to be as effective as possible, students must obtain hands-on experience, learn tools that they can take with them and use later, and learn how to apply these tools to multiple scenarios. Using innovative learning strategies to administer a negotiation course can turn a class of untrained negotiators into masters of the art.
Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Interactive
Using hands-on activities and roleplay scenarios are effective learning tools for multiple subjects, and they are especially effective for negotiation skills training.
When designing the training program, make sure to insert interactive activities to break up the monotonous instruction. Allowing participants to get their hands dirty will allow them to develop their own influencing styles and negotiation skills in a safe environment. This will also help participants practice the tools they are learning in the course, making them more likely to retain those tools for future use.
To administer a simple but effective scenario exercise, follow these three steps:
1. Make sure to make the scenario realistic. Participants want it to be in “their world” and will take it more seriously if that is the case.
2. Don’t overcomplicate the scenario with too many details. While participants want it to be real, too much information can be overwhelming and can have unintended consequences. Keep in mind that the more information the scenario has the more “outs” and “justifications” the participant’s have if it doesn’t go their way.
3. Have clear objectives in mind when creating scenarios. What specific negotiation aspects do you want it to test? Participants ability to ask questions? Conviction with which they deliver a first offer? Preparation process? Figure out what you want to address with the scenario and then build it.
Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Supply Useful Tools
If students can use what they learn during the course in future situations, that is the sign of a successful training program. For this to occur, negotiation skills training programs can supply participants with tangible tools, such as training manuals or worksheets for future referral. Design the training program so that participants can easily answer the following question: “What will you do differently in your job as a result of this training?”
The goal of a negotiation skills training course is to ensure participants’ success in conflict. The program should be practical, and solutions should not be hard to find. Designing training materials that explicitly state the best practices for negotiations will be simple guides for participants to refer to in future situations.
Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Customizable to Multiple Situations
Negotiation skills training programs must be relevant to the participants’ organizations or companies. Without this relevance, the facilitator will lose credibility. In addition, the participants will have to make their own connections to the material while learning new skills, which decreases their ability to retain information.
Implementing scenario exercises that are relevant to the participants’ industry is a correct approach to negotiation course design. If multiple industries are involved, design multiple scenarios. Using multiple examples throughout instruction will also allow connections to develop between practice and theory.
Negotiation skills training programs are tricky to administer effectively but following these easy steps will turn a program from mediocre to excellent. To learn more about negotiation skills training and to schedule an expert session for your organization, visit Shapiro Negotiations today.