You have an important deal to make at work. You think you’re prepared, but when you get to the table, you become filled with emotion and self-doubt.
How can you prepare yourself to face negotiations confidently and with the appropriate toolbox of skills?
You could spend hours reading books and articles about the art of negotiation. Or, you could make better use of that time by participating in hands-on games, activities, and exercises.
We’ll give you an overview of negotiation exercises, explain how they can benefit you, and show you an example of one of our favorites. Plus, we’ll give you a peek into how our workshops use these techniques to level up your negotiation skills.
An Overview of Negotiation Exercises
Negotiation exercises are activities designed to help people practice the art of negotiation and improve skills such as:
- Effective communication
- Persuasion; and
- Influencing others
Some popular negotiation exercises include:
- Role-playing scenarios
- “What if” situations
- Mirror exercises
- Extreme scenarios; and
- The ultimatum game
The ultimatum game is one of our favorites, so we’ll discuss that in more detail later.
How Negotiation Exercises Work
Negotiation exercises work by allowing people to build their skills through practice.
Since a business negotiation can be a high-pressure situation, negotiation exercises offer a way to hone the skills to get what you want successfully in a low-stakes environment.
They are a way to work on what you need to learn, say, and do without fear of failure.
Why Negotiation Exercises Are Important
Negotiation skills are an integral part of any interaction, be it business or personal. Whether you’re trying to negotiate a high-level business deal or just attempting to reach a compromise with a family member, top-notch negotiation skills can make a significant impact on the outcome.
If you feel that you don’t have the appropriate skills to prepare for a negotiation, participating in negotiation exercises is a great way to build yourself up in this area. Letting yourself fail and learn during a game-type scenario can give you the skills you need to walk into a business meeting and strike a favorable deal.
The Maker Group’s negotiation workshops are heavily exercise-based and designed to let you learn by doing. We build on our activities around case studies that are proven to work. Team members can complete a negotiation exercise, talk about why they succeeded or failed, and then get the tools to do it better next time.
5 Ways Negotiation Exercises and Activity-Based Negotiation Training Benefit Negotiators From All IndustriesAnyone can benefit from negotiation training, whether you’re a business professional or someone simply looking to improve their personal relationships. Here are some of the top benefits of participating in negotiation exercises.
#1: Enhances Problem-Solving Skills
Practicing negotiation exercises can build problem-solving skills because they often create scenarios where both sides have opposing needs or a conflict of interest. They help people identify the underlying issue and seek out a solution that works for both parties.
#2: Fosters Adaptability and Strategic Thinking
Sometimes the problem with business negotiations is that one party can’t see things from the perspective of another. This often causes a breakdown in communications or creates an impasse wherein a deal can’t be reached.
Negotiation exercises help you change your mindset and think through every possible scenario on the way to striking a deal. Instead of an all-or-nothing situation, you can learn the benefits of compromise.
#3: Builds Confidence
Negotiations can be stressful, especially if you’re walking into them unprepared. People who lack confidence and don’t possess an arsenal of negotiation skills often have trouble asserting themselves, which can lead to ineffective negotiations.
Practicing negotiation exercises allows these individuals to:
- Stay calm under pressure
- Develop strategies to get the outcomes they want; and
- Build confidence
#4: Promotes Effective Communication
A huge benefit of negotiation exercises is that they can help improve communication skills. Because these exercises often involve role-playing situations wherein people must actively listen and effectively communicate, they allow participants to:
- Clearly express their ideas
- Use concise language; and
- Actively listen to other perspectives
Having these skills allows negotiators to achieve better outcomes and mutually beneficial agreements in business deals.
#5: Improves Negotiation Planning and Execution
The more you practice something, the better you get at it. Running through a variety of negotiations in a setting where it’s okay to fail helps you build the skills to confidently and assertively bargain for what you want in real-life business scenarios.
The Ultimatum Game
The Maker Group uses the ultimatum game as an icebreaker to kick off our LV3 Negotiation Workshop. It’s a simple exercise that has a big impact.
Here’s how it works.
Player A has to make Player B an offer on how to theoretically split $100 between the two of them. The only thing Player B gets to respond with is yes or no. Player A doesn’t get to justify why the offer is being made this way and Player B doesn’t get to justify their answer.
If Player B says yes, each person keeps the respective split monies as proposed. But if they say no, each person gets nothing.
Player A has to think about what they can offer Player B that they’ll say yes to, but without being able to justify, rationalize, or explain, it becomes a very interesting exercise.
Player A may propose a 60/40 split. Player B rejects it, but they just said no to a free $40. Chances are, they said no because their internal sense of fairness thought it should be split evenly.
It’s an example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you step back and think about it, it doesn’t make sense to say no to anything — even when it’s $99 and $1. That’s $1 more than you had before and for doing nothing.
But when presented in the context of “I’m getting this and you’re getting that,” people become defensive and their moral compass causes them to reject it.
The Psychology of The Ultimatum Game
The ultimatum game is a variation of game theory that is used in:
- Experimental economics
- Behavioral science; and
- Social psychology studies
It is used to examine people’s decision-making processes and helps explain how negotiations can break down based on emotions and mindset.
Sometimes — in business and life — we make decisions that don’t make a lot of sense from a logical point of view. Often, when our emotions and feelings get involved in our deals, we can be less than rational when it comes to our decision-making processes.
We need to be aware of this and know how to counteract it, both in ourselves and the other party. Participating in the ultimatum game negotiation exercise helps people practice taking emotions out of the equation and considering the bottom line and how that will benefit both sides.
The Maker Group: Offering Workshops Centered Around Negotiation Exercises
If our explanation of the ultimatum game intrigues you and you’d like to see how these types of exercises can work for you and your staff, we highly recommend that you sign up for our negotiation workshops.
Sure, you can search for these activities online and try to put together your own team-building activity, but it just isn’t going to have the impact as the world-class negotiation consulting and training services you’ll get with The Maker Group.
Our workshops are heavily exercise-based, so you’re getting practical instruction on real-life situations the whole time. We don’t believe in a “death by PowerPoint” approach or weighing you down with textbook theories.
Check out our three different types of workshops and contact us if you need help deciding which one is right for your company.
LV1 Negotiation Workshop
Negotiation LV1 is a virtual, self-led training with a game-based learning approach. Users complete the program at their own pace.
LV1 is effective for newbies and seasoned veterans alike, and it will give participants:
- An understanding of what negotiation is and isn’t
- Fundamentals upon which to build future negotiation capabilities
- Knowledge of the language used in the LV2 and LV3 programs; and
- Confidence to execute personal negotiations
LV2 Negotiation Workshop
Negotiation LV2 is an experiential workshop designed to be delivered either virtually or in person. It’s for groups of up to 12 people who are in negotiation support roles.
This training is an effective hands-on mix of learning through core-based negotiations and consultant-led input sessions. It allows participants to practice their negotiation skills in a safe environment.
LV2 will equip participants with:
- An understanding of how to assess negotiation types
- A defined process to plan and prepare for negotiations
- The ability and confidence to support the execution of negotiation plans
LV3 Negotiation Workshop
Negotiation LV3 is an intensive workshop for groups of up to eight people that can also be delivered virtually or in person. It is designed for those who execute high-value, complex negotiations within their organization.
Based heavily on modern behavioral psychology and science, this workshop dives deep into the minds of negotiators. It uses human behavior to answer many of the “why” questions about negotiation and to make sense of other people’s actions and behaviors.
LV3 participants will leave the session with everything learned in LV2, plus:
- An understanding of why people do what they do in negotiations
- The appropriate behavioral strategies for maximizing value; and
- A personal understanding of key areas for continued focus, improvement, and development
Our surveys have shown that there is an average of 41% confidence increase by people leaving our workshops. Not only that, 98% of participants reported impactful change, leading to higher comfort levels when executing negotiations.
If you think you or your team would benefit from one of our negotiation workshops, we’re excited for you to get started. Book a consultation today.