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From the President: Negotiation - Does It Sound Daunting? Instead, Consider How You Build Relationships

Posted By NAEP, Friday, March 4, 2016

Lisa Deal, C. P. M.
University of Florida
NAEP President 2015-2016

One of the subject areas about which NAEP membership routinely requests training is negotiation.  Our customers also often want assistance from us/Procurement regarding negotiation.  I think we all want help learning to negotiate because the word “negotiation” can have an implication of a tough, intensive, combative session where one side wins and another loses.  I don’t find that kind of situation something I look forward to experiencing (although I understand some people do) and our customers – and most often suppliers, don’t either.  What I’ve learned by attending NAEP sessions about negotiation, reading about the subject, and actually participating in or leading negotiations, is that it’s really all about knowing what you need, understanding what’s important to the other person/side and building a relationship to talk about it.   That doesn’t sound nearly at unpleasant as someone winning and losing to me.

 Listening is the foundation of building a relationship.  Sure, in negotiation you have to know what you want, but listening is how you will learn what is important to the person or organization with whom you negotiating.  Remember that we don’t only negotiate with suppliers, we all negotiate in our lives daily – do you have a family? Co-workers? You negotiate in those relationships all the time.  The more you listen, the easier it is to tell how important things are to the other person, and whether it is more important to you, or to them.  Listening is the key to building relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers.  To learn more about negotiation, register for the Annual Meeting, May 22-25 in San Antonio, TX.  Early bird rates expire April 22. I hope to see you there, and look forward to meeting and listening to you.

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