Millions of dollars are spent annually by businesses all over the world on staff negotiation courses. Employees may go to training programs at universities and other locations, or the training may be conducted internally under the direction of consultants and other specialists. Employees return to the office after a few days of training and try to put what they learned to use.
Unfortunately, their new information frequently does not stick. The finest techniques they learned during negotiation training are swiftly abandoned in favor of stale, ineffectual routines.
How can managers and their companies improve the likelihood that a negotiation training program will provide long-term positive outcomes? There are several tips for organizing negotiation training:
1. Make it a group activity. You can’t just sit back and let the school or training provider handle everything if you want to adopt negotiation training in your company and have it produce results. Encourage the coordinators of any negotiation training programs to take into account the unique issues your company is facing and modify their recommendations to meet those needs.
2. Look for training in actual negotiations. Watch out for negotiation training programs that don’t allow participants enough opportunity to use the techniques they’ve learned in simulations. Negotiating seminars may be engaging and educational, but before trying to use their newly learned negotiation techniques in the workplace, students need to have the chance to make errors in a low-risk environment. Because of this, negotiation simulations—which let participants act out actual negotiation scenarios—are an essential aspect of efficient negotiation training.
3. Assess the effectiveness of the negotiating training. The course assessments that participants and managers get after a negotiation training course too frequently place an emphasis on the environment, such as the trainer’s presenting style or the relative comfort of the room. Additionally, organizations want to support trainers in evaluating the participants’ negotiation skills. You may achieve this by polling them at the beginning and conclusion of the session. Trainers can then monitor their performance after they return to work. Managers may evaluate this data to see how well the negotiation training has improved negotiators’ abilities, and they can then collaborate with trainers to enhance outcomes—or look for more successful training.
4. Promote training. If negotiators don’t have many opportunities to put their new methods into practice on the job, they won’t develop excellent habits. Better habits can be learned, but it doesn’t happen magically; it needs constant attention, a readiness to admit and fix one’s errors, and a lot of effort. Employees should have time to reflect on what they learned after attending negotiation training. Encourage them to consider which principles will be most useful to them and to put those principles into practice, both at work and in their interpersonal interactions outside of the workplace. Employees could also get together often to simulate negotiations on their own and provide feedback to one another.