Improve your negociation skills

The leader must motivate the team members, clarify difficult issues and orchestrate everyone’s efforts. This means exploring alternatives, pushing boundaries, keeping the whole team involved and moving the group toward consensus.

The presented post will explain relevant aspects of moderation, argumentation, negotiation and working group in the collaborative distributed design teams.
you will learn to:

  • How to moderate a project meeting
  • How to argue/sustain/explain a solution or idea
  • How to negociate an idea or solution

Moderation is a normal, no conflict way of conduct a team meeting.
The leader will have to make tough judgment calls when the group is faced with difficult trade-offs (moderation process with the design team). The leader must guide the creative process in such a way that the finished work is strategically sound and of the highest possible quality. In a short period of time, good ideas must be developed and then executed flawlessly.
The team leader serves as the primary client contact for strategic and creative issues (moderation process with clients). She/he is responsible for managing client expectations over the course of the project and may often have to push back and persuade.
The team leader must also be sensitive to the needs and goals of individual team members (moderation process with young people in a team).
-A good team leader will serve as a mentor, encouraging others to stretch creatively and helping them to develop their potential.
-In the case of staff members, this includes nurturing their personal growth over the course of multiple projects (career development).
-To be a mentor, the team leader must have credibility.
She/he must bring to the position proven ability and relevant industry experience. Leaders as moderators must establish and maintain mutual respect. This requires honesty, trust and a genuine and consistent emphasis on us/we/our.
Effective team leaders tend to have a decentralized approach to authority, allowing individuals to work
independently on tasks, then bring their work back to the group for evaluation and integration through moderation.
This moves most projects forward through a cycle of rapid prototyping and incremental changes.
Lastly, the team leader must see to it that excitement and fun do not drain away from the work and sometime are efficient tools in the moderation process. Fun is powerful motivator! It puts things into new contexts and leads to fresh ideas.

Fun is powerful motivator! It puts things into new contexts and leads to fresh ideas.

Every  firm faces a paradox here. What is the right balance between freedom and discipline? True innovation requires creative risk. It involves experimentation and making mistakes. At the same time, however,  teams must be provided with just the right amount of structure. They must take a mature and responsible approach to budgets and
schedules. In this latter respect, the team leader can be greatly assisted by a capable project manager.

Team leader vs. project manager!

The role of the project manager is a very important one. Most design as example, teams find it indispensable to have someone specifically charged with the coordination of logistics. This person must have a good understanding of the creative and production processes involved, but their role on the team is not that of a designer. When a project is first pitched, the project manager may assist in developing estimates and timelines and identifying potential risks. Once a project is active, his or her primary responsibility is to support the team by taking care of a range of administrative tasks.
The project manager arranges any necessary meetings, distributes updated information, monitors budgets and deadlines and documents the progress of each assignment.

Moderator behavior

The moderator’s primary responsibility is to prevent the group from wasting
time. For this reason, she will follow a program of milestones to prevent the
group from getting stuck in a certain phase.
That is way it is very important to know what moderator is allow and in not
allow to do.


The moderator is a person with the moral and professional authority that assume the role to moderate the communication in a specific group, by facilitating and stimulating the data, information and knowledge exchange and to orient it in the desired direction for attending a specific objective, but also, for diminish/eliminate communications’ conflicts.
Based on this preliminary definition there are presented the abilities needed
for becoming a good moderator.
Sometime is better to see the moderator in a team as a facilitator.
From Wikipedia ( a facilitator is
someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and
assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the
discussion. The facilitator will try to assist the group in achieving a consensus
on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a
strong basis for future action. The role has been likened to that of a midwife
who assists in the process of birth but is not the producer of the end result.

Moderator profile

A moderator must have the following skills:


Genral framework of argumentation

According to the Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia ( the argumentation theory , or argumentation, embraces the arts and sciences of civil debate, dialogue, conversation, and persuasion; studying rules of inference, logic, and procedural rules in both artificial and real world settings. Argumentation is concerned primarily with reaching conclusions through logical reasoning, that is, claims based on premises.


For better understanding the main tools used in the argumentation tools there
can be consulted:
- – about some demonstration examples, some famous scientific demonstrations; – more information
regarding the induction or inductive reasoning or inductive logic.

Demonstration rules

Logical Math theory applied in the demonstration procedure:
True → True
False → False


What will be if the moderation and argumentation can not avoid conflict?!


Negociation process

Negotiation is an interactive process between two or more parties seeking to
find common ground on an issue or issues of mutual interest or dispute where
the involved parties seek to make or find a mutually acceptable agreement that
will be honoured by all the parties concerned.


The negotiation process context is define using the interrogative method.
-In an educative environment there can be analyze the answers of different
questions using collaborative, distributive design process examples.
-Based on this interrogative method there can be analyze different
collaborative engineering scenario!
The basic idea is that negotiation should not be reduced to a mere give-andtake/
reject process. Instead it should be viewed as an opportunity for the
participants to argue about their respective positions and expectations and
achieve mutually beneficial agreements. To ensure that negotiation is efficient
and moving toward a right direction, negociators should do more than simply
“agree” or “reject” a proposal. They must provide “arguments” for others to
understand “what do you want” and “why.”

Negociators should do more than simply
“agree” or “reject” a proposal. They must provide “arguments” for others to
understand “what do you want” and “why.”

Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement


When discussing a BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) it is probably appropriate to start out by saying that it is not the so called bottom
line that negotiators conceptualize to protect themselves against concluding agreements where they give too much or receive too little.
A bottom line denotes the worst possible outcome that could be accepted, and is therefore intended to act as a barrier beyond which the negotiation may not
extend. It is a defense against the pressure and temptation that is often exerted on members of a party to agree to a deal that is self defeating. Although bottom
lines undoubtedly do serve a purpose, they unfortunately create rigidity and inflexibility, inhibit creativity and innovation, and reduce the incentive to seek
tailor-made solutions that reconcile differences.
By contrast, a BATNA does not concern what should be achieved, but what the course of action should be if an agreement y , , g is not reached within a certain time.
As the standard against which an agreement is measured, it prevents a negotiator from accepting an agreement that is too unfavorable or not in its best interests,
as it knows of a better option outside the negotiation.
By virtue of the fact that it concerns what the alternative to a negotiated agreement would be, it allows far greater flexibility and room for innovation than is the
case with a predetermined bottom line. The better a negotiator’s BATNA, the greater that negotiator’s power, given the attractive alternative that negotiator
could resort to if an acceptable agreement is not reached.
When developing a BATNA, a negotiator should:
•Brainstorm a list of alternatives that could be considered if the negotiation failed to deliver a favorable agreement:
•Select the most promising alternatives and develop them into practical and attainable alternatives: and
•Identify the most beneficial alternative to be kept in reserve as a fall-back during the negotiation.
Although it would be ludicrous to enter a negotiation with a preconceived decision to not conclude the negotiation, having a viable BATNA is an essential
insurance policy. A well thought through, clearly defined BATNA has the advantage that it makes it possible for the negotiator to break off the negotiation if it
becomes clear that a beneficial outcome is not achievable, as the negotiator would then know what the consequences would be should the negotiation fail. This
‘willingness’ of negotiator to break off a negotiation should it become necessary, permits the negotiator to adopt a more firm and forceful stance when
presenting ideas and interests as the basis for an agreement.
The question as to whether a BATNA should be disclosed to the other party/ parties depends on the strength/attractiveness of the BATNA. Should a negotiator
have a strong BATNA, it may be beneficial to reveal it, as this would prevent the other party/ parties from acting as if a good alternative does not exist. Where
a party, however, has a weak BATNA, non-disclosure may be the preferred approach, as this may, especially where the other party is showing signs of overestimating
its opponents BATNA, prove to be a bonus that should not be squandered through disclosure.
The more a negotiator knows about the alternatives available to the other party/ parties, the better that negotiator is able to prepare for a negotiation. Should a
negotiator before a negotiation have access to information that the other party is over-estimating its BATNA such information could very effectively be used to
lower its negotiation expectations.
Where both parties to a negotiation have a strong BATNA, negotiation would seem rather meaningless, as there would be very little incentive to come to an
agreement. In such cases the parties should rather look elsewhere to pursue their business.
When a party to a negotiation fails to explore its BATNA, it finds itself in a very insecure situation, and is exposed to:
•Strong inner pressure to reach an agreement, as it is unaware of what would happen if the negotiation fails:
•Over-optimism about proposed agreements, often resulting in the associated costs not being fully appreciated:
•The danger of becoming committed to reaching an agreement, as it is then unaware of alternatives outside the negotiation, and therefore would be inclined to
be pessimistic about its prospects if the negotiation fails: and
•The vagaries of the law of agreement, which holds that when persons agree to something this is entirely dependent on the attractiveness of the available

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ressources on negotiation:

Negotiation definitions and characteristics for the design process – relevant references
Y. Jin, M. Geslin, S.C-Y. Lu, Impact of Argumentative Negotiation on Collaborative
Jianzhi Li, Hong-Chao Zhang, Asymmetric Negotiation Based Collaborative Product Design for Component
Reuse in Disparate Products, Computers & Industrial Engineering,
Noel, F., A Product – Process – Organization Integrative Model to Support Collaborative Design, CIRP – LCE

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