Negotiation skills are highly useful in our everyday lives and leave a substantial impact in our daily interactions and decisions. Undoubtedly, some individuals possess a natural talent for negotiating and easily handle even complex situations. However, it’s equally true that some people face difficulties and fear when approaching their negotiation counterpart.
This difference raises the question whether negotiation skills can be refined by anyone willing to improve?
From an academic perspective, certain cultures, such as France and Germany, naturally tend to approach conflict more directly1. However, it’s important to note that the ability to negotiate effectively isn’t limited to these nations alone. Everyone has the potential to enhance their negotiation skills through education, practical application, and experience. One way to success is to focus on trainings designed to sharpen these skills. This means that even those without innate advantages can become accomplished negotiators through dedicated learning.2
Many companies have already recognized the valuable benefits of investing in negotiation training for their workforce. These investments are driven by a corporate understanding of negotiation skills’ pivotal role in achieving organizational success. The research underscores the positive impact of negotiation training on behavioral dynamics and business outcomes.3 At the individual level, the study by Coleman and Lim (2001) revealed that participants report a more positive attitude toward conflict after negotiation training4. Going further, other findings highlighted that increased training investment per employee leads to higher overall returns for organizations.5
However, just like any skill, regular practice is crucial. Mastering the art of negotiation doesn’t solely come from participating in negotiation trainings. Instead, it requires a dedicated and ongoing effort toward learning and enhancement. This means the application of learned techniques through repeated engagement in the business world.2&3
Additionally, the success of negotiation training isn’t solely dependent on the training itself. Clarity in personal goals, aligned with organizational objectives, is essential for the success of any training program. When there’s harmony between the training content and the company’s targets, employees are more likely to find the training valuable and relevant to their roles.3
At the Schranner Negotiation Institute, we recognize the pivotal role that both innate predisposition and deliberate skill development play in shaping successful negotiators. While certain individuals may seem naturally inclined towards negotiation due to their inherent traits, we believe that negotiation is a skill that anyone can learn.
1 Meyer, E. 2014. The culture map: Breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business. Public Affairs.
2 ElShenawy, E. 2010. Does negotiation training improve negotiators’ performance?. Journal of European industrial training, 34(3): 192-210.
3 Movius, H. 2008. The effectiveness of negotiation training. Negotiation Journal, 24(4): 509-531.
4 Coleman, P. T. and Y. Y. J. Lim. 2001. A systematic approach to evaluating the effects of collaborative negotiation training on individuals and groups. Negotiation Journal, 17: 363–392.
5 Bassi, L. J., J. Ludwig, D. P. McMurrer, and M. Van Buren. 2002. Profiting from learning: Firm level effects of training investment and market implications. Singapore Management Review, 24(3): 61–75.