If you’re in the business world, then you’re using negotiation skills on a day-to-day basis. Negotiation takes place at all levels, whether you’re interacting with someone on your own team, your employer, or those you’re managing. For example, you can negotiate to make valuable deals with business partners, request a raise or promotion from your employer, compromise with a customer on the phone, and so on.
When the members of a workplace aren’t proficient in negotiation, it isn’t difficult to see the negative impact this can have. Without successful negotiation from all of your team members, it will be a struggle to collaborate with one another, compromise with business partners, make deals, and more. When you have a team of solid negotiators, on the opposite hand, it’s far easier to have a productive and fruitful work environment.
Negotiation isn’t an innate skill, however. Instead, negotiation combines several interpersonal and communication skills that a person can learn, often through practice and experience. If someone puts a conscious effort into becoming a better negotiator, they’re considerably more likely to see their abilities improve.
This is precisely why negotiation training can be a valuable asset to any workplace. When employees have access to this kind of education and resources, they’re provided with strategies, practice opportunities, and real-world applications that can help elevate their negotiation capabilities—in and outside the workplace.
Of course, when someone is trying to grow and improve as an employee, negotiation isn’t the only skill they concentrate on. Unfortunately, this can lead some individuals to forget or lose the information that they’ve gained about effective negotiation. The best way to combat this decline is through negotiation training reinforcement.
What Is Reinforcement?
Learning a new skill doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You don’t go through a training course and achieve a new lifelong ability, whether or not you’re practicing and reinforcing that skill before or after class. If someone isn’t practicing a skill outside a class setting, they could forget critical instruction.
To keep everyone’s negotiation abilities sharp in your workplace, it’s a good idea to incorporate reinforcement into your training plan.
Think of negotiation training as the principal learning activity. If those workers are engaging in reinforcement, they’ll be completing activities and practice outside the main part of their training. This generally involves the inclusion of pre-work and post-work activities.
There are numerous possibilities for reinforcement activities, all of which are performed outside the principal learning activity or training. For example, these activities could include keeping and writing in a journal, reading informational articles or studies, referencing a job aid, and other methods of reinforcement.
When you incorporate pre-work activities into negotiation training, these activities are intended to introduce new topics, ensuring that the learners are prepared for the main learning activity. Post-work training, however, asks learners to consider how they can apply the skills they’ve learned to their work or role.
Reinforcement prompts learners to apply key learning concepts, helping boost their knowledge retention. Employees can then take the lessons they’ve learned about negotiation and put them to practice. Ultimately, this will encourage a sustained change in behavior, resulting in an overall positive effect on the organization.
When Should Reinforcement Training Begin?
Your post-work activities should be prepared and ready to go as soon as the principal learning activity comes to a close. For reinforcement to be at its most effective, these activities should kick off right after training.
Even after just a few days, employees can forget much of the information they’ve learned. This is understandable—there’s so much that a person needs to focus on while at work, and no one has infinite memory. However, if they’re concentrating on other skills or tasks without reinforcing the ones they’ve already learned, this can damage knowledge retention.
Post-work reinforcement should start the same day as the final class. This allows learners to reinforce the ideas while they’re still fresh in their minds before they’ve started to lose track of specific details.
Why Are Reinforcement Activities Important?
Whether your team is working on mastering negotiation or another skill, reinforcement learning will be an integral part of the process.
Without reinforcement, there’s no guarantee that employees are putting the lessons they’ve learned into action. Even if someone is attending all of their training courses and diligently taking notes, they’re not going to reap the rewards if they’re not applying those skills.
A lack of reinforcement can be detrimental to information retention. After the program concludes, the employee may gradually start to forget the lessons they’ve learned. Even after just one month, it’s easy to forget the majority of the negotiation training lessons someone completed.
If you opt to include reinforcement activities in your negotiation training plan, you can expect to see:
- Increased levels of knowledge retention (for a longer time, even after the training has wrapped up).
- Lower employee turnover rates.
- Improved employee productivity.
However, if you’d like to see these benefits, keep in mind that reinforcement doesn’t mean sending reminders to learners. The only way for reinforcement to succeed is if learners take an active role in the process, just as they should’ve during the principal learning activity itself. You should be giving employees a chance to apply their newly learned skills rather than reminding them of what those skills were. Reminders won’t help long-term retention rates.
No negotiations training is complete without reinforcement activities. To help your team master the art of negotiation, they’ll need to actively use or practice the skills they’ve learned. Make sure that your learners participate in valuable pre-work and post-work activities, allowing them to truly become the best negotiators they can be.