Last Month, 20 military women from the Inland Empire attended the Think Like a Negotiator two-day training hosted by the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center (IEWBC). The group consisted of Army, Air Force and Navy veterans and military spouses. The program is part of the Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network (WOVEN)’s effort to bring entrepreneurial training resources to the communities where women veterans live and would start a business.
In a Think Like a Negotiator training Eldonna Lewis Fernandez (see photo) educates participants to be a better negotiator and understand the art and language of negotiation. Negotiation is simply the technical term for discussions and conversations to reach an agreement. Improving your negotiation skills will give you more confidence and better results. Eldonna shows how to find more power, negotiate better deals and create win-win results.
In addition to learning and reviewing fundamental negotiation concepts, there were two negotiation exercises. In the first, everyone lined up facing each other, with each side having an assigned role in the negotiation. The exercise was timed, and each pair negotiated and tried to reach a win-win conclusion. After the exercises the group discussed their interactions and evaluated the outcome they reached. Since we had a group with a wide variety of backgrounds, we were able to see how others used their knowledge and experience in the negotiations.
The second activity involved negotiating for puzzle pieces in order to complete replicas of artwork and then sell the completed replicas. Participants were presented with random piles of pieces to begin. They were free to form groups and decide who would negotiate, which paintings to complete, how much to pay to acquire pieces, and from whom to purchase. This was a fun learning activity that incorporated many skills: contracts for the consortium, barter, price/bid agreements, using go-betweens, and skill in solving the puzzles. The exercise brought out personality and behavioral traits in individuals that would likely be encountered in real world negotiation such as feelings of being overwhelmed by too many decisions, abdication of all negotiation responsibilities to only one group member, refusal to accept facts, and unwillingness to negotiate. The experience with different personality types allowed us to exercise different tactics to achieve desirable results.
To wrap up the training, each person was asked to state which concept resonated most with them. That helped reinforce the ideas and build a sense of purpose so we could move forward and practice the skills once the training was over. Some of the answers were:
- I must ask for what I want.
- Step into your power.
- Take the emotion out of the negotiation, whatever the outcome it is not personal.
- Silence is a powerful negotiating tool.
- Negotiate using facts and rationale.
As a result of the training three participants have joined the IEWBC’s flagship program – It’s Your Time: An Entrepreneurial Training Series for Women, four were already participating in it, and two more have accessed one-on-one business counseling.
The IEWBC is a program of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University’s College of Business and Public Administration. The IEWBC is funded in part through the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide training, counseling and mentoring services to women who want to start or grow a business.
CAMEO wants to expose and encourage as many female veterans and veterans’ spouses to business ownership and encourage their success. We’ve partnered with The Jonas Project to expand the WOVEN program into three communities in Southern California: Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego.