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Like it or not, you are a negotiator

Report: Introduction to Negotiation I

On the 18th of October, it was finally time for our first workshop. Wondering how this all down? Well, here is a brief overview!

After a hefty couple of weeks of selection procedures, the 36 lucky ones finally met. Tijs Besieux, one of the researchers of LCM, was present to inspire the new members. As well as giving them a first experience with negotiating a deal amongst peers.

Let’s start at the beginning. When all the new students came in, it did not take them long to start socializing at all. Even more, it took quite some time before they realized we were waiting for silence to begin the very first workshop! Of course, this is a good sign, as people skills are central in negotiation. Then it was time for an LCM SA-special to break the ice. Instead of just sitting in an auditorium as we have all done during the day, we asked the students to go standleave their seats and stand in the middle of the classroom.

One minute of intense eye contact and complete silence. A true test with the final goal of bonding, all without using any words. The main part of the evening can only be described as Tijs’ inexhaustible enthusiasm and insights. By sharing stories and describing situations, he manages to share knowledge. This without having to pour this into obvious life lessons. 

He started by getting to know the group and letting the members get acquainted with each other. He then explained that for every member there, the sessions would prove of great value. He himself has the experience that negotiation really made him to become the person he is today. After that, he gave the true first experience for the members with the Harvard Program on Negotiation. The emphasis was on value creation and the importance of preparation.

Evidently, we also negotiated. The very first case our new members got to discuss is one which any employee will face. How to negotiate a raise, while staying respectful to the employer. A prime example of a discussion where the interests tend to be opposing. A major reason to use this case is that people know that LCM SA tries to create value for both parties. 

To find compatible interests, the parties must be quite open to each other while daring and dare to disclose their goals. It is a human tendency to try to play their cards close to their chest. To come to a good agreement here, it is essential to realize that the parties are colleagues and do not have bad blood between them. While there is not a clear win-win situation, there are certain agreements that are a minimal effort for one party and which are very valuable to the other.