Leaving gold on the negotiating table is costly. Whether you’re structuring deals, securing finance, haggling with buyers, or looking for better terms from suppliers, it pays to draw as much value as possible.
How well you handle your business affairs, like dealing with conflicts, increasing your sales, and boosting your business, all boils down to how well you can negotiate.
Here’s all you need to know about the best options.
What are Negotiation Games?
Negotiation games are an engaging way to practice negotiation techniques, tools, strategies, and skills.
Games designed to boost your negotiation skills explore different reality-based scenarios, so participants can learn to cement or refresh the main concepts.
Here are some examples of the best games to consider:
- Negotiation Experts’ simulation games. By far the world’s most advanced negotiation training games. Negotiators get the opportunity to master how to score the maximum value possible in virtual gamified negotiation simulations. Negotiators are invited to meet as they normally would (face to face, video, or voice), while sending offers in the sim game every time they speak an offer. A skilled facilitator then shares insights and feedback by walking through the players’ graphs and other metrics. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, this sim is only available with Negotiation Experts facilitating.
- Program on Negotiations (Harvard Law School) role-play games. By far the biggest database of paper-based simulation games. The library covers a range of role-play scenarios that will allow you to learn how to handle a vast array of situations to boost your negotiating skills. While most customers appreciate Harvard’s downloadable library of games, some complain at the indexing making it very difficult to find a relevant game. Others complain at the lack of true-to-life business negotiation scenarios. Most sims were written by academics, not coalface negotiators.
The point of these games is typically to win. Sub-goals include negotiating to leave the least amount of value behind (i.e. win-win), unearthing your leverage, and understanding others’ pain points. The best games also give you feedback on how you performed to help you boost your skills.
So, what makes a negotiation game great?
The best games are designed by expert negotiators, so it helps to do your research when seeking out the best options. The best games have clear goals and interactive simulations that will help you to:
- Deal with complex situations.
- Maintain mutually beneficial relationships.
- Get feedback on whether you achieved the best deal or left too much value on the table.
Why are Negotiation Games Important?
Now that we know the aim of the game, let’s see how players can benefit.
Games help lighten the atmosphere during courses and workshops, which can help improve the way people grasp new concepts. A fun, more entertaining mood can take the pressure away, which can release tension to help participants refine their learning. Also, losing a sim deal doesn’t hurt the business’ bottom line profit.
In addition, participants can play games as a team. So, while learning how to negotiate, companies can also improve how employees relate to each other. The end result is typically more vibrant teamwork that can help businesses coordinate better to pull off more wins.
According to the wellbeing publication Help Guide, learning through play releases endorphins. Studies have shown that endorphins can contribute to memory retention, so games can help participants remember more of the training.
People tend to forget what they learn in class. Consider the concepts you learned in class, like the Pythagoras theorem. Chances are, you have a vague memory of it but no actual knowledge of how to apply it.
Through games, you get the chance to turn theory into practice over and over. In turn, this helps to improve how you assimilate the information you take on board.
360Learning suggests that collaborative learning also helps to improve retention. When participants play games together, they learn from and with each other, helping each other to understand the process better.
While taking part in training games, participants can self-correct. Players can also receive clarification on some parts of the training that they may have been apprehensive about asking in an open forum.
How to Choose The Best Negotiation Games?
Training games aren’t likely to make an impact if you don’t first carefully consider the games you choose.
Some of the criteria to consider when selecting the best negotiation games include:
The Engagement Aspect
The best games are fun and engaging to draw the interest of the participants. If the game is dull and uninteresting, players may miss the key lessons. So how do you decide what’s fun and what’s not?
It helps to hold the participants in mind to determine the most appropriate games. For instance, a conflict resolution class for business students would need different games than a refresher course targeted at experienced salespeople.
If you’re picking a negotiation game online, find one with an easy and appealing user interface that will keep participants hooked. The more absorbing the game is, the higher the chances of keeping at it until your team’s skills are on point.
The best negotiation games will ideally fit seamlessly into your budget to give you the best value for money. Choose games that are cost-effective to avoid your costs of training ballooning beyond your budget.
Whether participants play the game in pairs or groups, each member must contribute to make it interactive and helpful for everyone. Avoid games that have a single dominant player while others act as spectators. If all members participate, there’s a higher chance of retention for everyone involved.
The games should be easy to understand. If the game is too complicated, players can fall prey to distractions. Some may spend more time focused on understanding the game, while others may switch off completely. A straightforward game can drive the learning home better.
Negotiation games should hit the sweet spot when it comes to time. If it’s too short, trainees may not have enough time to get a feel of the learning and it may not reflect their business reality.
On the other hand, if it’s too long, there’s a risk of putting off the participants, defeating the purpose.
Gives Clear Feedback
The end goal for a well-thought-out negotiation game should be to provide crystal clear feedback. Choose a game that not only informs you how you did but also gets into more detail about what you did right and where you got it wrong.
In addition, the best games show you how the other side performed as well. Seeing the whole picture can help you fine-tune your skills regardless of which side of the table you find yourself on in real-life situations.
The best games expose participants to a range of activities to practice various skills. It’s important for players to understand the strategies to use in different situations, not just one position.
Learning Through Play
Repetition improves retention, so play negotiation games as many times as desired to help you level up your skills. In addition, using these games as part of seminars, workshops, or refresher training can make the simulations more effective.
Remember to choose the best games designed by expert negotiators that are interactive, relevant, true to life, easy to follow, cover the range of skills your team needs, and give clear feedback afterward. When chosen well, negotiation games can go a long way toward boosting your business.