As high tech as business has become, and as many advances as there have been, some of the most exciting innovations have been in the types of business conducted, differences that reflect our changing economic landscape. One such change growing in popularity is the specialized business environment, such as those that involve more than two parties forming complex business partnerships.
According to Negotiations.com, there’s a delicate balancing act where both clients and businesses are trying to walk the same tightrope, and making it run smoothly requires a clear, keen vision. These multi-party business agreements carry with them the potential for increased growth and development, but a little planning and foresight is necessary.
In this article, we take a closer look at the true art of multi-party negotiations and how you can master this difficult business artform. It’s not easy, but once you know the secrets and tricks, your advantage as a business will be extremely profitable.
The points of view present at negotiations increases, as does the need to accommodate them. Each party also brings their own agenda to the negotiations as well as their own interpretation of what topics should be taking priority to the table. These varying and often conflicting points of view have to be managed well if a company is to reap the benefits of a multi-party business agreement. Although each individual participant has his or her own goals and objectives, they are in negotiations because the desire to form a partnership or mutually beneficial business relationship is there. Therefore, all parties must balance the needs of the group with the needs of their own company.
The best focus in multi-party negotiations is in finding shared goals, a vision that every party can adopt. Once that is understood, it must be the litmus test by which the individual exchanges are measured. This measuring stick of a common interest is especially useful when balancing the different personalities that may partake in negotiations. The needs of each party must be accounted for if such a negotiation is to be considered successful.
It is necessary to anticipate these issues and provide for their management prior to diving into negotiations. Each party is going to try to strategize and steer the negotiations in their favor, which can result in negotiations becoming increasingly long and with no foreseeable solutions. Appointing a mediator or facilitator is a smart way to manage this possible issue. Bright Hub Project Management advises that a facilitator should be appointed beforehand who’s responsible for ensuring that the negotiation goes smoothly and act as a neutral mediator. This individual shouldn’t have a vested interest in either side of the negotiating parties.
Every negotiation operates on various levels, and multi-party negotiations are no exception. When we view these negotiations in light of the growing global business market, the complexities can seem overwhelming. According to Susan Driver of Negotiation Guidance Associates, “Each time you add a new stakeholder to the negotiations process you exponentially increase the complexity of the negotiations.”
However, with technology comes the ability to partner with varying business entities, both large and small.
Multi-party negotiations are no longer just a playing field for the Fortune 500. Small businesses and start-ups can have contractors across the country and clients around the globe. Technology allows for the ability to not only communicate well but collaborate better and faster. This makes the advantages of multi-party negotiations much more feasible for all businesses. Technology such as group video conference BlueJeans allows for seamless video conferencing to multiple parties on various systems of technology. Group video conferencing is a wonderful tool for multi-party negotiations. Cloud computing means data and necessary documents can be shared and managed in real time. Contracts and agreements can be updated as they are negotiated and shared over the cloud with all parties in the negotiation. Best of all, the video conferencing feature cuts back on travel costs and gives every negotiating member the freedom to participate on their schedule, wherever they may be.
Run A Tight Ship
With the ease of accessibility, it is important to remember not to allow multi-party negotiations to become a runaway train. Susan Driver of Negotiation Guidance Associates defines the idea of a stakeholder, an individual who’s an integral part of the negotiation process and has a substantial say in what’s going on. In fact, everyone in a meeting of this kind should be a stakeholder, and all of the different interests and points of view should be managed by the facilitator. It is necessary to become creative in managing multiple party negotiations because the dynamic at hand isn’t linear. A good way to approach a negotiation is to give credence to every perspective, but remember that no one person should dominate the conversation. It can’t appear as though particular interests are being championed over others. One essential aspect of a negotiation that has to be remembered is that the room can get tense, considering that the bottom line is that a decision is going to be made, and someone is going to be disappointed.
All negotiations take place across multiple dimensions. During multi-party negotiations using video, the correct balance of those dimensions must be preserved appropriately. However, if managed well, multi-party negotiations can enhance the productivity of any business, and expand the partnerships and collaborations that take companies to new and exciting heights. Video conferencing also allows negotiations to run more efficiently by eliminating distance.
The True Art Of Multi-Party Negotiations