C10.6.2 Negotiation


“Try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion.”

“Obtain or bring about by negotiating.”

“Find a way over or through (an obstacle or difficult path).”

Source: Oxford English Dictionary


Negotiation is an important part of the communication process.

Everyday we negotiate in some fashion. In larger purchases we ask for a discount on a new car or make an offer on a house under the asking price. We might ask for free car mats to be thrown in, or for blank recordable CDs to be included with a CD recorder.

We may negotiate with ourselves. If searching for a product on the internet, you may find that different sellers offer different prices, but one has the item in stock and one will not deliver for 2 weeks. We negotiate internally as to which is more important to us (discount or speed?).

In environmental terms, negotiation is an important part of environmental communication.

For example, if you ask your Transport Manager to immediately replace all company cars with an environmentally preferable option (such as dual fuel or electric) you are highly unlikely to succeed. However, you may be able to negotiate to a position whereby they agree to purchase dual fuel cars when buying new cars from this date forward.


Stages of Negotiation

1. Planning and preparation

You must establish what it is you hope to gain. What are the important elements to you? To negotiate successfully you must give way on certain issues and you must identify where you are willing to be flexible in advance.

What do you think the other person will require? They will also have issues that they consider important and issues that they are more likely to be willing to be flexible about; and vice-versa. If you can identify these in advance, you have a higher chance of reaching an agreement.

2. Proposal

This is where you provide the information and make your request or offer. You should try to make a strong case and link this to the areas that you think the other party considers important.

3. Bargaining

There will usually be areas where you have to give in a little on your original proposal. Ideally you should not compromise on your original proposal without gaining something in return.

For example, if you were to ask your employer if you may attend an environmental training course, they may say that you have to complete the course in your own time. To counteract that, you could request that your employer pays the course fees in return.

4. Settlement

When both parties have reached an agreement, the items agreed should be confirmed. It is important that both parties leave the negotiation fully understanding what they have agreed to.