To achieve Step 11, individuals will show that they are aware that their listeners might respond in different ways and develop plans for those responses.
In the previous step, the idea of speaking adaptively was introduced and how language, tone and expression might need to change in response to the listeners. This step builds on this by anticipating what some different responses of listeners might be – this is a core part of negotiation.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
A negotiation is a discussion to reach an agreement on something. Sometimes negotiations are high-profile, high-stakes events like trade negotiations or international treaties. We sometimes see negotiations in legal dramas or the news when two giant corporations are looking to merge, or one is seeking to acquire the other.
Most negotiations are much lower-key – they involve two or more parties seeking to overcome an obstacle or deciding to do something together. That includes buying a house, selling a car, dividing assets in a divorce, choosing what to have for dinner, or trying to establish a fair price for a service.
Negotiations happen when the answer is not obvious or preordained. Good negotiations should reach a conclusion that is a good outcome for both parties – there is a mutual benefit from whatever is agreed. However, there will be differences in how the benefits are shared between the two parties. Each is interested in securing as much of the benefit for themselves or their organisations as they can.
Generally, negotiations will happen between the two or more parties who have a stake in the decision. Sometimes though, there will be a facilitator to help to reach an agreement – and this might be essential in particularly acrimonious or complex negotiations.
Several key concepts are essential to understand when planning for a negotiation:
It is vital to think not only from your perspective, but also to predict what the other party is likely to be thinking about. Negotiation is often compared to a game of chess – you cannot only think about your plan, but you need to be constantly aware of the intention of your opponent too. Some things to think about in advance:
Spending time on this planning means that you are best prepared to speak adaptively and to achieve your goals.
Negotiation in the classroom is perhaps not as common as in the workplace. However, there are times within groups when there is a need to negotiate, perhaps the workload or responsibilities, or even negotiate with the senior leadership team to run a specific activity or change the procedures within the school or college. The success of the outcome will depend on your ability to anticipate the responses of the listener and to plan for each response. The ability to counteract their reaction with a positive well thought through comment, example or fact will stand you in good stead to achieve the outcome you are looking for.
The workplace is perhaps where negotiation skills are most in demand. They may include smaller scale negotiations over work patterns, job responsibilities or even pay. On the other side of the spectrum, the skills of negotiation are essential in large scale corporate takeovers and mergers. Somewhere in between, are the regular negotiations which take part in everyday commercial life, for example prices, delivery times, where the ability to plan for the possible responses of your listeners will enable you to counteract their comments with further proposals and discussion points.
In the wider world, the need for negotiation skills are more common place than may be expected. For example, negotiating a reasonable price for something you wish to buy, negotiating social arrangements with a parent, negotiating the colour to decorate a bedroom, or even negotiating which school or college to attend. Mastery at this step of Speaking will stand you in good stead throughout your life and increase your ability to reach mutually agreeable and beneficial outcomes.
To best practise this step of Speaking, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
This step can be reinforced whenever there is a negotiation or conflict that emerges in the course of what learners are studying – for instance, in history, geography, politics, economics or current affairs. The critical thing to reinforce is what the views of the different parties are likely to be and so what the scope for an agreement looks like.
This step is best assessed through a structured activity where learners are asked to:
This step will be relevant to those who will speak to others to persuade them, or to negotiate an agreement.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observation and questioning. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: