Negotiating Multi-Party, Complex Public Issues

Learn the dynamics, strategies and tactics for negotiating complex public issues with multiple stakeholders

Program Description:

Successful negotiations involve understanding a sequence of steps that can advance discussions toward agreements. The Negotiating Multi-Party, Complex Public Issues program examines ways to negotiate complex public issues when multiple stakeholder groups are involved in the negotiation. A well-designed process is essential for productive discussions, the generation of options, and durable agreements. Each step in the negotiation process offers process choices based on the specific issues being addressed by often competing parties at the table. In addition to good strategies at the table, parties also will be negotiating within their own interest groups. Being aware of the dynamics, negotiation steps and process options will facilitate more productive discussions and durable outcomes. Multi-party, complex public issue negotiations require careful preparation to determine how best to structure a discussion, how to select who should participate at the table and who should be involved in other ways, and how to build legitimacy for the negotiation. Finally, creating and maintaining a good working relationships with all the parties is critical to the success of a complex negotiation. Careful listening, good questioning, and constructive ways to handle strong feelings help keep conversations on track. The faculty instructor for this seminar is a practicing specialist in mediating and negotiating public issues with 30 years of experience building consensus on sensitive issues around the globe. She received a PhD in future studies and an MA in international education from the University of Massachusetts. This customized TNI seminar educates and trains participants to master the strategies and tactics necessary to reach a durable outcome. Participants will take away a set of skills and tools to immediately—and substantially—improve their negotiating performance.

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  • Topics:
    • Appropriate process, approaches, and components of negotiation – Successful negotiation involves understanding a sequence of steps that can advance discussions toward agreements. Multi-party, complex issues negotiations also require building ownership for the legitimacy of a negotiation process and for the individuals who will be at the table. Thoughtful preparation and a well-designed process are essential for productive discussions, the generation of options and agreements. Each step in the negotiation process will be examined to determine a range of appropriate actions for any given issue.
    • Dynamics, strategies and tactics for successful negotiation Significant discussions occur away from the table when many parties are involved. Ensuring that representatives at the table are keeping their constituents informed and engaged throughout the entire negotiation process is essential. Strategies and tactics for helping groups recognize interests, generate a range of workable options and reach agreements both at the table and away from the table will be discussed.
    • Effective Communication – Good communication plays a critical role in successful negotiations. Learning how to listen, elicit information, convey your own concerns, recognize cross-cultural differences, and read non-verbal messages will help the negotiator develop and preserve relationships while enhancing a negotiator’s effort to reach a successful outcome.
    • Dealing with Challenges - Challenges raised in a negotiation by individual personalities, by the development and maintenance of an on-going process, and by the substantive issues are common in complex public disputes. How to handle a difficult individual or group, what happens when progress is not being made fast enough or is being made too fast for comfort, what can be done when options seem limited and unacceptable are a few of the challenges that will be addressed.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Understand the process, approaches, and components of negotiation
    • Examine the dynamics, strategies and tactics for effective negotiation
    • Consider the affect of communications on negotiations
    • Identify ways to handle people, process and substantive challenges
    • Apply to hypothetical and real cases
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