Negotiation, Leadership and Gender

Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with Embassy of United States in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized two three-day workshops in Sarajevo and Teslić from 5-10th February. The aim of the workshops was to empower BiH female politicians and political and social activists when it comes to negotiations skills which will help them in their future activities and advocacy for women’s rights in BiH.

The workshops were held by the world renowned expert in the field of negotiations in the work place, Mrs Deborah Kolb, PhD, Harvard Law School emerita. Professor Kolb is especially interested in the relations between negotiations and gender issues. She started working on gender issues during the 1980s, when this area was significantly overlooked. Professor Kolb is the author of several books, the most recent being “Negotiation at Work- Turn Small Wins into Big Gains”.

The professor underlined that when it comes to negotiation preparations, one must all have sufficient, defensible arguments ready. “You need to look at what the other side has. Knowing the facts has a double effect. You will have greater legitimacy in creating conditions and it will be easier to find advantages, which means that the negotiations have a greater chance of succeeding. What is good for you is good for your organization. It is important to understand the other side- recognizes the five reasons for which the other side might say no to you. If you know their perspective, it is easier to handle the situation”, she pointed to the participants.

Through the interactive workshops, the participants were given the opportunity to learn about the importance of self-confidence in the negotiations and the importance of understanding the negotiating position of the other side, but also of defining one’s own goals. One of the key conclusions the participants highlighted is the importance of having allies, which could provide assistance and help the negotiations.

Through dynamic exercises and acquired skills, the negotiation simulations empowered the participants to be more determined in future negotiations, be they in their business, social or political engagements.

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