Sunday, 1 December 2013

The power of persuasion

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the first steps of my internship strategy is to attend some training sessions offered by the King's Professional Skills Programme. The first one that I attended involved boosting my influencing and negotiation skills.

During my internship in HELEXPO S.A., I had to persuade foreign entrepreneurs to attend an exhibition about renewable and conventional energy sources, and negotiating fees was a big part of this. However, even though I already have some experience in negotiating, I do not feel very confident about my negotiation skills. 

Source:, taken from 'Pretty Persuasion' (2005) directed by Marcos Siega

This seminar's goal was to ensure that we have a better perception of how the process of a negotiation works. Apart from an extensive presentation on the key elements and the essential skills that someone must obtain in order to have the advantage when negotiating, at the end of the seminar we had to put our newly acquired knowledge into practice through a role play. We were divided in teams of two, and, in this hypothetical scenario, two employees from two different departments of the same company (one from HR and one from Finance) had to reach an agreement about the expenses of a business, weekend trip for the whole company. The Finance employee had to persuade the HR employee that keeping the cost down is the most important thing while the HR employee wanted to guarantee that all the employees will have a good time.

Overall, it was an interesting seminar that gave me a better insight as far as negotiations are concerned. Some key points that I noted and I will try to put into practice in my future work experiences are the following:

  • It's important that you have set your limits and goals before initiating a negotiation. A smart move would be to set longer term goals than the deal on the table. You might even get a better deal in the end.
  • You should always be prepared beforehand (do your research and stick to your limit).
  • Pay attention to body language (the more space you use the most confident you seem, plus eye contact is key - a confident smile does not hurt either).
  • Never let emotions take control of your actions. It is crucial to maintain your distance and keep calm. It is easier for someone to take advantage of you if you seem disorientated and confused.
  • Do not hesitate to walk away from bad deals. If an offer does not fit your set goals then there is no point of taking it.
The following video is truly enlightening too: