The success of negotiations is largely determined by the success of every step of the negotiation process: preparation, face-to-face discussion, and debriefing. While planning and face-to-face phases are extremely important for negotiations, debriefing is crucial in the long-run, since it helps to identify the success factors of the negotiations and to reflect on the practices, which require further improvement (McRae, 1998).
The post-negotiations debriefing sessions, which I have participated in, mostly followed a similar structure. Firstly, the meetings usually took place soon after the conclusion of negotiations, in order to be able to derive lessons from the negotiations, while the whole process is still fresh in the minds of the participant. Moreover, timely debriefing helps to incorporate the lessons learnt into the existing negotiation practices, thus taking advantage of the improvement as soon as possible.
Before the debriefing meeting all participants were required to prepare 2 assessments: the first one was a reflection on own performance, while the second aimed to evaluate the general flow of the negotiations, including the strong and weak aspects of the process and the possible improvements in the future. Self-assessment was not meant to be shared with other team members, nevertheless it was necessary for bringing clarity into individuals’ evaluation of own performance. The general assessment was shared with the team in order to trigger discussion and to generate ideas for future improvement. Team members were able to provide feedback to their colleagues either openly or confidentially and their suggestions were discussed during the meeting. All ideas were then combined to produce documents, which summarized the lessons learnt, assigned responsibilities and provided further steps for future improvement. Some of the meetings were concluded with a small team event, which helped to enhance team spirit and gave an opportunity to celebrate the end of negotiations. These debriefings were always a success and helped me to improve my performance in the future.
McRae, B. (1998). Negotiating and influencing skills: the art of creating and claiming value.