Negotiation Skills

A Negotiation Skills session was run by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and presented by the regional area manager (a graduate from Sheffield Hallam University) and the assistant regional area manager. The initial question ‘when are negotiation skills applicable?’ was answered amusingly by one student who suggested that they were vital in borrowing flatmates milk and bread; a situation relevant to most student households. While conceding that this was correct, the presenters focused the rest of the session on the application process rather than on semi-skimmed milk and Hovis! The presentation identified the key aspects of a successful negotiation as: 

  • knowing yourself and the person you are negotiating with
  • planning the negotiation
  • knowing how to negotiate
  • coming to an agreement    

     The session started with an activity which helped us to ‘know’ ourselves by asking us to identify our greatest strengths and weaknesses.  ‘Knowing’ the person you were negotiating with can be achieved through a thorough review of the job description and company. The presentation stressed that communication skills, such as clear pronunciation and eye contact, are vital to achieving a successful negotiation.  It also defined a successful negotiation as ensuring that both parties feel satisfied with the result, rather than one party feeling as though they have won.   
A mock assessment centre negotiation test was the main activity of the session. In groups we had to review a budget and make spending decisions within a time constraint of 20 minutes. With each member of the group having to propose a different idea, negotiation was vital. The activity was very useful as it highlighted that within an assessment centre environment and in group projects, although there is not necessarily a right decision, a non-decision is definitely a wrong one. 

Overall I learnt that negotiation skills are important in the application process, in the workplace, and also in negotiating your path to a job!  

Rennie (Student Blogger)
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