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Advanced Negotiating Skills

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This workshop is intended for M & A negotiators with a certain amount of experience, and addresses some of the softer (i.e. harder) issues in negotiations, with the emphasis on preparation and group (or multi-party) negotiations. We use an extended negotiating framework (see above and  documentation below  for a downloadable version).

  • A central feature of preparation for negotiations is the purpose hierachy (see documentation below), which helps the negotiator to construct multiple positions from dovetailing outcomes, interests and issues, rather than having to rely on one or two entrenched positions.
  • Win-win is usually a fallacy in negotiations, and although it is possible to increase the pie, not only do gains often not accrue to their creator, but an opportunistic opponent can even deprive a creator of more than he has created. We address this central negotiation tension, suggesting some Game Theory antidotes, and some tips on detecting lies in negotiations.
  • We sometimes think that we are stuck with our natural negotiating style, but the effective negotiator is able to switch into any of four or five negotiating styles, depending on the context and situation. Participants can assess their own style (using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument), and practise using different styles. We have also included a special module on dealing with tough negotiators.
  • In some ways, success in negotiations is all about leverage, but leverage is not static, and the ability to create it can shift the negotiating gains from one party to another. In the same vein, the use of contingent deal components can help protect buyers against seller opportunism.
  • Arguments come in two basic flavours in negotiating (pie-throwing and argued requests). Pie-throwing contests can be satisfying, but they usually detract from a useful negotiating outcome. A well argued request will rarely, if ever, "win" you a negotiation on its own, but a poorly argued case can make you lose valuable headway. We use an archetectural construct based on the Toulmin model to help you create a coherent internal structure to your arguments. The benefit of a structured argument is that it can act as a subtle signalling device, paving the way for creative proposals.
  • In many cases, the negotiator is working on behalf of others (as a mediator), and we explore the mechanics of agency, as well as the complexities of different agent-principal relationships.
  • We use a variant of McKinsey's PSC (position, salience, clout) model for group negotiations, and develop a "wiring" diagram for connecting the key components of a group negotiation (PSC landscape, meetings and the financial model), enabling negotiators to craft viable multiple positions which can be acceptable to all parties.

Participants use the wiring process to prepare for a multi-party negotiating case study where they are split into 4 stakeholder groups (management, seller, PE house and bank) to negotiate a private equity deal for the sale (and rescue) of a steel company. Each stakeholder group has different objectives ... and information.  This case study has been run many times throughout the world over the past few years.

The workshop documentation includes an Advanced Negotiating Manual covering not only all the aspects of negotiation covered in this workshop and in M & A Negotiating Skills, but also several other useful topics (see documentation below for a download of the Advanced Negotiation Manual contents page).

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Downloadable Documentation

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