Since the beginning of time, Man has been negotiating with varying degrees of success and has continued negotiating. Why, then, do we negotiate? Simply, because we do not agree. Conflict is nothing other than the expression of a disagreement. That is all. If a disagreement is not verbalised or expressed in some way then you are subjecting yourself to the other, which will create, at least, a minimum of frustration and powerlessness. If, however, you accept that the other person does not agree with you, without concealing your opinion, you consider the conflict to be legitimate, or even natural. The manner in which you personally manage the conflict will then only depend on one thing: your capacity to negotiate.
Contrary to popular belief, negotiation is not a soft-skill. Why do some succeed where others fail? Should we consider that their success was based on luck? Negotiation is a hard skill, just like law, medical studies or finance. If you cannot improvise being an accountant, you also cannot improvise being a negotiator. You can easily figure out where handing over a hostage-crisis to an inexperienced person will lead. Hoping for a peaceful agreement when a negotiation is being carried out by individuals with no technical skill won’t get you very far.
Experience on its own doesn’t mean much. The years of experience or number of negotiations carried out do not define a negotiator’s value. It is what you learn from the experience that nourishes your intuition,
develops your adaptability and feeds your capacity for analysis. Learning from the experience is always far more important than the experience alone.
Experience is nothing without expertise. Dealing with a hypocritical individual, foiling an ultimatum, re-establishing an unfavourable balance of power, creating a connection of confidence with a difficult profile, detecting manipulations or even understanding the person you are speaking to real motivations cannot be improvised. On the contrary. And this is exactly what makes negotiation a hard skill
The objective for the creation of the United Nations in 1945 was to build a culture of peace using diplomacy, international negotiation and rule of law. The United Nations has since become a global system to settle international conflicts usinpeace agreements, promoting economic development, politics and Human rights. In a multilateral world, presided over by individual, national and collective interest, the directors of the UN use negotiation as an essential means of coming to an agreement that is satisfactory for all parties involved. Managing the COVID- 19 pandemic and the ensuing consequences of it has clearly demonstrated the importance of negotiation to overcome the daily trials on a global scale. This also serves as a reminder that COVID-19 is nothing compared to what we are going to have to deal with in regards to global warming.
At the dawn of a new world, tossed about by difficulties and major opportunities, negotiation remains a light in the dark for us all.