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Negotiation is generally seen as the process of arriving at a common decision in cases where the parties involved have divergent views over a particular issue. This is an experiential negotiation paper based on an actual negotiation process that the writer engaged into with the agents of an apartment. The paper seeks to describe the setting of the negotiation, the parties involved, goals to reach for each party, the issues that were tackled during the negotiation process, and the preparation and planning that took place. The paper objectively discusses in detail the events during the negotiation. After this, a functional analysis is carried out in which the paper delves on the key events, possible alternatives as well as the integration of what took place with theory and the concepts of negotiation. It also summarizes the evaluation of the negotiation. It could be said that although there was a disparity in the negotiation zone, the best value was secured.

The negotiation process happened at the offices of the agents who manage the apartment, involving me and the agents as the subjects, representing the property owner. As it will be seen, this could have contributed to their rigidity in sticking to the higher side of the negotiation zone. The communication arose from the agents’ proposal to increase the apartment lease from the $1200 I was paying per month. Their goal was to increase the lease to $1500 per month beginning January 2013. This could have been informed by the current economic variables such as the increasing demand for housing, tax obligations, and the nature of the property market. On the other hand, my major goal was to continue staying in the apartment. This is because moving out of the apartment would have disrupted my budget for other related costs such as transportation. According to the Harvard Business School (2005), the main aim of a negotiation process may not be the price of the product being negotiated, but the delivery of the best value to the client, what I have defined as my goal too. Moreover, I would not have readily accepted the newly proposed lease. One of the issues at hand with regard to the increased lease was the rising costs in the management of the apartment. Therefore, the issue was that either I reach at an agreeable price or I quit the apartment. However, from my side quitting the apartment at this time of the year would have resulted in much inconvenience for me.

In preparing for the negotiation, first I had to be clearify my needs. Since the value, quality, and convenience were my primary goals, I was not very subjective since I had already experienced the quality services of the apartment. Moreover, I carried out more research onto the lease rates for apartments in the area. I found out that there was no much difference in terms of prices. Besides, I would have spent relatively more in paying for another apartment, which was not necessary following the proximity to the Christmas season. In addition, I have examined my position as a client, my strengths and weaknesses in negotiation process, my needs and priorities, the range of options I had, my emotional state following the abrupt increase in lease, and the needs of the agents and finally my strategy.

Negotiation Description

The negotiation process was characterized by key events and their outcome. Some of the useful tools and practices during the negotiation process for both of us were the listening, seeking clarification, and explanation of unclear concepts and intents. As was mentioned earlier, the main aim was to find a common ground for the two sides. After the agents had put up the notice of the increase of the lease as from January 2013, I subsequently booked an appointment with them. When I went, I was welcomed well; the way a client should be welcomed. I was impressed by the welcome and also the general improvement of the customer service in comparison to the previous visits. From the onset, I could tell that the agency was increasing in the value it offered for money. The agent explained to me the reasons for the increase in rent for the apartment. He stated that there was an increasing demand for housing in the cities and towns. The property and real estate industry was rapidly gaining ground after a period of hardships. In addition, there were extra tax obligations from the government. Along the explanations, I was also able to gather that there had been increased costs in the management and running of the apartment.

After the presentation, the agent asked whether it was clear or I needed more clarification on any issue. Since I had already understood why the rent was being increased, I had two concerns. The first one was whether the quality of the services offered would increase as well. These included security, the collection of garbage, and water supply. The second concern was whether the amount could be reduced to $1350. My first concern was clarified that services would be improved and others introduced. However, the new services which were about to be introduced would mean additional payment for the client. For instance, they were to introduce a new laundry system in which clothes would be washed at a reasonable price at the end of the month. Regarding the second concern, the agent plainly explained that the most that they could reduce the rent was by $50. At this moment, I learnt that I was at much lower bargaining latitude. Moreover, since the holidays were approaching and that shifting to another apartment would cost me more, I decided to accept the proposal.

Although I did not make much gain as far as reduction of the proposed new rent was concerned, I was happy that I would get back the value for my money. With the ever deteriorating security situation in the country, there was a need to live in a secure apartment that was not prone to any terrorist attacks, banditry or robbery. After the discussion which took about twenty minutes, the agent summarized the agreement; that I was to begin paying $1450 as from January 2013, and that services at the apartment would not only be improved but also increased. Therefore, although the capitulation occurred from my side, the deal was good. Lastly, the agent produced a document which I signed. It simply had the details of the new agreement. However, it had to be edited because the figure was still $1500. After physically signing it, he also updated it in their information system. The agent thanked me for my time, commitment in timely pay of rent as well as accepting the new changes which would mean a more strained budget. As I was leaving, he assured me that the door was open for more suggestions, discussions and clarifications.

Functional Analysis

By closely scrutinizing the events that happened during the negotiations, several meanings can be drawn. However, not all events were significantly important. The most critical events can be classified into or categorized as follows: events on finding a common ground, events revolving around the exploration of the differences, events of offers and counteroffers, and the events surrounding the ‘close of the sale’.

Perhaps finding a common ground was the key event around which others revolved. However, looking at it closely, not much of my bargaining, in terms of the price on rent was considered. It appears that there was unequal power distribution or bargaining latitude. The agents were more dominant in the setting and agreement upon the rent amount. Moreover, I cannot say that I was not catered for in the negotiation process. This is because my major concern of the quality of the services within the apartment was met, what was different from the security services. The next category of the events was the exploration of differences, which mainly composed of the question “why?†Specifically, I was interested in knowing why the rent was being increased. Consequently, the agent adequately explained the reasons behind the increase in the price of the rent, which were the taxes, operational expenses, and increasing demand. Therefore, if this were to be looked in the lens of Schermerhorn, it could be said that the goals were not relationship-based but rather outcome-oriented. This is evident in the small amount of money that the agent could reduce from the proposed amount; it was only $50 against the additional $250 that I would begin to pay as from January. This leads to the next category of events: offers and counteroffers. However, as earlier put, the agent made only one offer, which was not very significant with regard to the proposed high margin of rent increase. Further, the close of the sale was well done from the perspective of the salesperson-client professional approach.

Although the negotiation can generally be referred to have been successful, it appears that the approach used by the agents was not the best. They put up posters at strategic places that rent would be increased next year. However, this may not have been the best approach. The agents should have considered making calls to each tenant. It appears more honorable and thoughtful than putting up posters. In the same way, they should have sent emails to us in order that one may plan when to seek for more clarification. On my opinion these two alternative modes of communication would have been more effective because a person may fail to see the posters. Second, from my perspective it appears that the agents were too bossy as if their interests were more important than those of the tenants. In my opinion, they should have come to the building to see their clients, instead of ‘summoning’ them to the agents’ offices.

The above negotiation process can be viewed in the context of various concepts of communication as well as management. There is no doubt that the negotiation is an aspect of communication. It was indicated that active listening was required for successful glimpse on the details of thecommunication. Other than the fact that the negotiations are part of the communication processes, it should be inquired that for success of any negotiation the adoption of psychological foundations of temperaments is important. In other words, the negotiations are highly dependent on the personality of the negotiating persons as well as their ability to keep their emotions on check. According to Littlejohn and Foss (2009), emotions distort communication process. By extension, emotions may hinder successful negotiations. The success of this negotiation process was highly dependent on my ability to control my emotions. It is also clear that as part of preparation for a negotiation process, one should be able to understand the emotional strengths and weaknesses.

Negotiations are also based on strong business management skills. In this case, from the perspective of business management, the agents applied good skills for managing the situation. Specifically, the summary of the reasons why was the rent increased were well presented. After the presentation, the agent allowed room for questions and clarifications which I may have had. All in all, whether negotiations are approached from communication, business management or personality perspective, they require adequate skills so that the intended goals are not turned into acts of greed and selfishness.

Summary Evaluation

There are several lessons learnt for future negotiations. Personally, I need to work on my non-verbal gestures that accompany what I say or complement what the other person is saying. Initially, I did not know that it was important to nod when the other person is talking. But now it is clear that as I have always wanted to be listened to, I also need to show that I do not only listen but also appreciate and recognize the efforts made by others in passing the message. Other than lessons surrounding negotiations and the communication process, it is now clear that most changes are made at the begining of the year. Therefore, the end of each year, one should be well prepared for any radical changes not only in their tenancy but also in other spheres of life.

Through this negotiation, I was able to learn some of my weaknesses and strengths in communication skills. First, I learnt that I am emotionally stable and am able to control my emotions. Second, I learnt that I am weak in asserting my side of the bargain. While I was analyzing the episodes of the negotiation, I realized that I only made one proposition of $1350. After the agent said that the much he could reduce was only by $50, I felt I could not push more than that. Therefore, I accepted the counteroffer without any resistance. In conclusion, I can say that my negotiation is always geared towards making peace. My style is concerned with relationship retention other than the goals and outcomes.

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