Negotiating Mastery: The Certificate Program

Negotiating Mastery: The Certificate Program

Arguably the one skill every business professional must master is the ability to get others to agree with him or her. In any undertaking of significance, knowing how to get adversaries to accept your point of view while seeing themselves as winners is crucial to your success and the prosperity of your organization. Nor can you ever expect to ascend the corporate ladder without a solid understanding of fundamental negotiating principles and nuances as well as the ability to emulate those who consistently know how to structure mutually beneficial agreements.

Negotiating is the generic life skill. It’s a delicate mix of art and science, of style and substance. It prizes intuition as highly as intellect, common sense as much as achieving the hard numbers. It requires emotional detachment, an understanding of the critical importance of process and a high aspiration level. Many understand the “how to” of deal making intellectually but few are entirely comfortable in their ability to consistently optimize the outcomes. It’s a game of power, real as well as imagined. While some play the game masterfully, others only dimly understand it.

The program is designed for both beginner and advanced deal makers who are seeking to take their game to the next level. It’s also purposefully built to accommodate those who seek flexibility in their choice of topics. Each session consists of a three-hour webinar supplemented by pre-course work (relevant readings, tasks and simulation or case materials). You may cherry pick only those sessions that interest you or complete all seven courses to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment offered by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia. All courses are open to the general public and, if you are not a member of CPABC, drop us a note and we’ll tell you how to register.

The target audience for this program are those who are serious about developing their skills beyond mere competence. You’ll confront questions about the process you’ve never thought about before. Yet they’re the ones that every accomplished negotiator knows how to answer. If you aspire to negotiating mastery, this certificate program was designed with YOU in mind.

Upon completion, you will be better prepared to:
❏  Enter into any negotiation with greater comfort, confidence and competence;
❏  Remain focused on achieving your objectives regardless of the pressures or challenges;
❏  Project a powerful, credible and controlled presence at the bargaining table;
❏  Engage others in co-operative problem solving aimed at mutual profit improvement;
❏  Not become the unwitting victim of the tactics and emotional ploys used by others;
❏  Utilize savvy advice to enhance your communications in cross-cultural encounters;
❏  Change attitudes, improve relationships and influence the decisions that will ultimately determine your professional advancement and career accomplishments; and
❏  Embrace negotiating as critical life skill in achieving greater success, happiness and prosperity.

What prior attendees have said:
Among hundreds of testimonials, here is what some prior participants have said about this particular learning experience …
❏  Jim taught me more about negotiating in three days than I learned in three years at law school. – Corporate Litigator, Edmonton
❏  Confirmed my suspicion that I leave far too much on the table and settle much too quickly. – VP, Toronto
❏  This course is similar to going golfing with a world class pro – you can’t play golf as well as him but you do discover where your “game” is. – CFO, Winnipeg
❏  I wish I had taken this program 30 years ago. The torrent of information, savvy insights and real stories told me how I can get  whatever I want. – Consultant/Coach, Vancouver
❏  Opened my eyes to my weaknesses and reminded me that everything is negotiable. – CFO, Calgary
❏  You made me acutely aware of the hundreds of dynamics and intricacies that affect me every day and your astute packaging of all of them was a stimulating intellectual exercise. – CEO, Vancouver

The courses:
While it’s not required that you complete these sessions in the order indicated below, the following logic flow is recommended:
1.  The Framework for Negotiating Mastery
2.  The Negotiating Process Simplified
3.  Tactic Recognition and Response
4.  Essential Communication Skills
5.  Power, Creativity and Timing
6.  Human Behaviour and Cultural Differences
7.  Team Bargaining and Mediation

The curriculum for each course is described below:

Part 1: The Framework for Negotiating Mastery
This is the foundation course for the certificate program. Topics include: What exactly is negotiating mastery and how do you get there? Dissecting and assembling the jig-saw puzzle. Differentiating facts from fictions. Why we think we negotiate and why we actually do. What you can’t be taught but must learn to do. Ethics in negotiating. Distinguishing content from process. Core negotiator needs. The magic of negotiating: How to make losers feel like winners. What negotiators ask for and what they’ll settle for. Identifying the needs that drive the numbers. The art of disguise. Discovery: How to find out what they don’t want to tell you. Deciphering “last and final” offers. Simulated learning vs. having skin in the game. Practicum: The foundation principles illustrated. Six key discovery questions. The difference between the theory and reality of give and take. When NOT to negotiate. The five essentials of a good strategy. Things you should never do. The eleven specific traits that define a master negotiator. The differences between those who succeed and those who fail. The framework summarized. Recommended readings.

Part 2: The Negotiating Process Simplified
This session explains the structure, stages, ingredients and critical rituals of negotiating. Topics include: The #1 error negotiators make. How to set objectives, determine your bargaining chips, deal with your blind spots and distinguish the essentials from the expendables. An inventory of preparation tools. The single most important task before you start. Agenda setting and social amenities. Achieving alignment and rapport. The questions people never think to ask and what to say should they ask you the same ones. Determining who cares about what. Phrasing to induce the desired perceptions. Developing a repertoire of magical, non-escalating responses. The ask: First principles. Framing risk. Priming and anchoring the opening number. Dealing with push back and overcoming objections. The six meanings of NO and why we say it. The informative NO and the soft NO. Practicum: Dealing with pressure points and leaving money on the table. Resistance: Mirroring and convergence. What to say when you don’t know what to say: Playing offense and defense. The ultimate discovery question. Packaging your proposal for optimal impact. Essential bargaining maneuvers. When to deadlock and how to break impasse. Closing: When, how and what to say. Reducing buyer remorse. What constitutes a good deal?

Part 3: Tactic Recognition and Response
This session explains how to create competitive advantage through tactical knowledge. Topics include: A glossary of negotiating tactics. The context: Gradient stress and the spectrum of negotiating styles. Classic Win/Lose maneuvers. How to respond to tough demands. Reasonable vs. realistic openings. Conveying a strong bargaining posture. Priming: The power of properly framed numbers. How to increase your aspiration level. Responding to an outrageous opening. Why our asks are usually too reasonable. Dealing with unreasonable and overly aggressive negotiators. Emotional ploys: Why all behavior is tactical. The anatomy of a tactic. Using self-deprecation as a tactic. Cialdini’s six principles of influence. Negotiating with pathologically difficult people. The fundamentals of Win/Win tactics. Discovering the reasons behind the ask. Influencing “the organization.” Counterintuitive tactics: Insights from behavioural economics and neuroscience. Stratagems for winning any argument. Creating opponents of choice. Practicum: From whence comes happiness? Evaluating your performance: The path to mastery.

Part 4: Essential Communication Skills
A master negotiator is a good communicator – this session explains how you can become one at the bargaining table. Topics include: The 90:10 principles – Understanding how negotiators communicate. Questioning: How to acquire sensitive information from your adversary. Why we are all such poor listeners. How to listen to get what you really need to know. The art of translation. The power of non-directive responses. Reflection and deflection skills. Disagreeing without energizing and escalating differences. Artful phrasing when time matters. Deciphering the language of hidden meanings. Interpreting and using non-verbal cues. Reading body language online. Overcoming linguistic obstacles in cross-cultural bargaining. Proxemics: The study of interpersonal space. Avoiding the need to lie. Practicum: Fine-tuning the skill sets. How to detect fraud and deception. Negotiating with liars and deceptive responders. How successful interrogators work. Principles of persuasion and selling tactics. Why they won’t buy what you’re trying to sell them. The smartest thing to say that brings the greatest rewards. Altering your communication ratios to get what you need.

Part 5: Power, Creativity and Timing
Some regard these three elements as the most important in the master negotiator’s arsenal of skills. Topics include: Myths and fallacies about power. Achieving leverage: Rational presence and psychological influence. Understanding and managing the power equation. David vs. Goliath: Dealing with overwhelming power. How to diagnose the power of others. Determining your predominant (or default) negotiating style. The pros and cons of compromise. How people give up the power they possess. The downside of power as a bargaining style. Negotiating Win/Win outcomes with the powerless. How to increase your power and when to decrease it. Testing the power of legitimacy. Hard vs. soft power. Creative negotiating: How to get around the brick wall and change the shape of any deal. Practicum: Negotiating job offers from both sides of the table. The symbiotic relationship between price and terms. Leveraging the terms as buyer and as seller. Breaking an impasse by negotiating the future. Assessing tactical responses: What to say after you get the job. The slam-dunk strategy for getting a raise. Timing: When to ask for what you really want. Distinguishing the event from the process. Dealing with the 11th hour and deadlines.

Part 6: Human Behaviour and Cultural Differences
It’s people who negotiate – this session explains the predictability of human nature at the bargaining table and the skill of applying psychological influence for advantage. Topics include: How to get others to do what you want them to do. Negative and positive interaction cycles. Application of neuroscience to negotiating behaviours. Functions and dysfunctions of conflict. Self control vs. other control. Turning down the heat: Engineering a climate conducive to achieving your objectives. Overcoming perceptual barriers: Masking, ego defense and role playing. Dealing with bias: Ours and theirs. Reconciling different negotiator personalities. Establishing rapport through neuro-linguistic programming. Practicum: Resolving values conflicts when money is not the issue. Enculturation and behavioural patterns. Gender differences: Strengths, weaknesses and negotiating tendencies. Typecasting vs. stereotyping. The four dimensions of cultural differences that apply specifically to negotiating. Building trust across ethnic lines. Designing negotiator profiles for competitive advantage. Negotiating globally: do’s & don’ts. The weaknesses of Canadian negotiators. Tactical insights on negotiating with Asians, Brazilians, Arabs, Americans and others.

Part 7: Team Bargaining and Mediation
This session explains how the principles of negotiation previously examined apply to team bargaining and high-performance mediation. Topics include: Intra-group bargaining. Why people act differently in groups. When to use a team and when to go it alone: Strengths, limitations and caveats. Managing team dynamics: What you need to be wary of. Practicum: Resolving deal breakers. Determining the optimal team size, key roles and responsibilities. The predisposition to Win/Lose outcomes. Tracking your progress: The settlement matrix. Evaluating the outcome: The team postmortem checklist (15 critical questions). From Negotiator to Mediator: Negotiating value differences. The human condition and intolerance. How to agree to disagree. To mediate or not? The mediator’s dilemma. Mediating issues vs. belief conflicts. The seven dimensions of conflict. Essential documents: The contract, terms of engagement and ground rules. The primary barriers to resolution. Reframing issues and consequences. The role, attributes and objectives. Actions that expedite the process. Discovery, reciprocity and resolution: Required elements for achieving success. The three levels of mediator tactics. Practicuum: Overcoming the mediator’s dilemma and getting beyond who’s right. Assumptions that derail success.