Inside UBC Sauder Executive Education: Professor Daniel Skarlicki says people are desperately under prepared for negotiations

Professor Daniel Skarlicki is an international thought leader in organizational behaviour and leadership development.  Publishing research in the world’s top journals, he brings his knowledge and expertise into the classroom and applies it with enterprises like Cathay Pacific, VanCity, ICBC, Glaxo and Rocky Mountaineer.

In his course Strategies and Skills of Successful Negotiation, he helps participants hone in on their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the art of the deal and introduces techniques that allow them to avoid psychological traps and common mistakes.  

Describe your approach to teaching in Strategies and Skills of Successful Negotiation.

The approach is experiential. I like to start off by analyzing the participant’s current negotiation style and talk about where they are going right and wrong. Then they are introduced to new and different negotiation strategies and are shown – through case studies and role playing – how to apply them in different situations. We do this because I want them to gain a fundamental understanding of the range of styles people employ when they're negotiating.

When entering into a negotiation, what are the top three things you need to keep in mind?

Number one is preparation. People are desperately under prepared for negotiations when they go in. Next is, know your back-up plan. The third is to arm yourself with questions. People need to go in and begin to ask questions in order to do well in any negotiation.

What are the common psychological traps people fall into when negotiating?

One is called the anchoring trap and happens when we give too much weight to the first information we receive, like a number or dollar figure. Another common assumption is that you and the person across from you are competitors. It sets up the wrong type of negotiation, as it becomes adversarial. The third thing is the assumption that you have all the information because there’s always something that can be gained.

How is the online environment changing how people negotiate?

It’s actually scary because when too much technology is used we begin to lose that personal connection. We don’t really get a sense of the other person as a human being and the result could be a poorer quality outcome. What we’ve seen from the research and peoples’ experiences is that on the one hand it’s kind of nice to hide behind an online persona. The bad news is that you’re probably going to make a poor deal as a result.

What is the most significant thing you've noticed about how the course transforms participants' abilities?

People build a skill set and strategies for different situations. Because negotiating in a professional setting to close a business deal or with your boss and colleagues is a very different than negotiating in the private sphere for a used car or with your family.

Describe how managers who take your class are having an immediate impact in their organizations.

They recognize that there are many internal and external negotiations that happen each and every day that really affect the quality of our lives. The immediate impact is that the people who attend this class are more prepared going into negotiations, so their outcomes are better.


Executive Education at the Sauder School of Business

Our professional development programs aim to transform your career and accelerate your organization’s business objectives. With more than one hundred open enrolment programs taught by top Sauder faculty and leading industry experts, we zero in on your goals and ensure you get results.

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