Five Negotiation Skills Project Managers Need to Master

Project managers play many roles. They are leaders, mediators, delegators, cheerleaders, and negotiators. They often have to manage teams of colleagues with multiple responsibilities. They must also work within a limited budget and allocate resources. Project managers can help build the foundation for a successful venture by improving their negotiation skills.
1. Before the Project Begins, Completely Scope all Negotiation Touchpoints
Negotiating is more than just the first step of a new project. Negotiations will continue throughout the project by the project manager. Negotiations are not limited to between project managers and external parties like vendors, clients, or vendors. Negotiations often take place within a team or involve multiple stakeholders. To complete their task, a project manager might need to secure resources from their company. Negotiating involves showing value to the company and giving the project the resources it needs to succeed. Project managers should compile a list of all stakeholders, including vendors, clients and management. This will allow them to identify the relationships and time commitments required to create a holistic strategy.
2. Anchor Expectations – Be the first to Anchor
Many experienced negotiators use anchoring techniques to maximize their negotiation success. Anchoring is a negotiation technique that allows negotiators to identify their terms early in a conversation. This provides a foundation upon which all other parties can base cognitively their terms. Even though the terms of other parties may differ, they will still be influenced by the original terms. This is a great way for project managers to request a budget or to set time commitments between team members.
3. Expand the pie, not fight for slices
Negotiation is often associated to fighting for scarce resources. This is known as distributive negotiation. It often results in a clear winner and a loser. Interests do not have to be mutually exclusive. They can even be complementary. An experienced project manager can help each party feel that they have gained something through an integrative negotiation approach, also called win-win negotiation. Integrative negotiation requires that all parties are open and honest about their respective interests in order to achieve it. To find win-win solutions, they should use fair principles and reason. This not only adds more value, but also creates a strong working relationship that will be beneficial for the project and future endeavors. Ask your vendors, stakeholders, team members, and coworkers for their top three goals, and then share yours.
4. Exercise Optionality
Contrary to what the old-school zero sum-business wisdom says, you don’t always need to keep your cards close in order to negotiate a positive outcome. We have already mentioned that being transparent about your intentions and your interest can result in better outcomes for all. Multiple offers can help you establish your interests. If terms aren’t appealing to the other party, it can be time-consuming to make a single fixed offer. Multiple offers can help you decide which aspects are most attractive. To allow for flexibility, you can add contingency clauses into your negotiation. To ensure that all parties are satisfied and happy, project managers can create clauses that will be triggered based upon possible outcomes.

Author: Victoria