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Professional Negotiation

Negotiation Courses, Negotiation Training, Negotiators

Professional negotiators are normally employed in a variety of professions. The primary areas where one would find employment are: business, the legal field and public service. Business would include the areas of sales, procurement or purchasing, contractual and labour negotiations. The legal profession would entail litigation and contracts. Public service negotiators could include international relations, procurement, contracts and other related areas. Negotiators may also specialise in the areas of mediation or arbitration.

Professional negotiators may act as consultants, bringing an expertise to accentuate negotiations. Consultants provide advice, and are usually selected because of their past experience in a field or profession within which they have been previously or are currently employed. Negotiation consultants may also act as trainers and teach the theory and practice of negotiation. Training can be general or tailor-made to suit a particular profession or need. Negotiation training courses should include negotiation strategy, process, tactics, interpersonal skills and practical tool sets.

There are two distinct types of negotiations known as distributive or integrative negotiations. Distributive negotiation is defined as a process that normally entails a single issue to be negotiated. The single issue often involves price and frequently relates to the bargaining process. Integrative negotiation is a type of negotiation that usually entails two or more issues to be negotiated. This form of negotiation often involves an agreement process that better integrates the aims and goals of all the involved negotiating parties through creative and collaborative problem solving.

Although either type of negotiation can be employed separately, in practice both types are often used in conjunction. Negotiations can be conducted between 2 parties which might be simply two individuals, or one or both parties could be comprised of a team of two or more individuals. A negotiation can also consist of more than 2 parties and this is known as a multi-party negotiation.

Professional negotiators can learn the art and science of negotiation through on the job or in house training, or opt to take external commercial courses from professional consultants or academic institutions. The most successful negotiators practice every opportunity they get, read widely and take many training courses to transform over time into a balanced negotiator. Negotiation courses can be offered through compulsory or elective courses in colleges, or in an undergraduate Bachelor's or postgraduate Masters University degree curriculum.

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