Rob Perks, CEO of Inspire discusses negotiation on BBC Wiltshire

On 27th November 2018, Rob Perks, Chief Executive of Inspire The Wessex Chambers of Commerce, was joined by Tracy Mendip from a counselling organization in Swindon and Philip Maddox, managing director of Leadfield Environmental, on BBC Wiltshire’s One Size Fits All episode talking about negotiation.


Negotiation in the workplace

Rob, Tracy and Phil discuss what negotiation means to them in their jobs and how often they use negotiation at work. An interesting discussion with perspectives from three different sectors, Rob begins the conversation describing his negotiation processes. He explains how he implements it in the workplace when persuading employees, whilst keeping them motivated at work. In an honest conversation, Rob states that not all negotiations can be successful, and sometimes it is better to acknowledge this and find an alternative solution, especially when emotions are heightened.


BBC Wiltshire – One Size Fits All Transcript

Rachel: Rob Perks is the Chief Executive of Inspire The Wessex Chambers of Commerce, which supports Wiltshire’s businesses, Tracy Mendip is from the Willows, a counselling organization in Swindon and Philip Maddox is the managing director of Leafield Environmental, a plastic manufacturer. Now I’ve been talking to all three, starting with Rob to see how often they use negotiation in their work

Rob: Quite often you’re selling an idea to somebody that works for you and that’s the negotiation in a way because you’re thinking they’re probably not going to want to do this, whatever this is, so you’ve got to work out how you can negotiate with them so they go away comfortable about doing what they’ve got to do rather than going out feeling like that was an order and they hate it and I don’t really want to do it

Philip: And you need motivated teams and motivated people

Rob: And ordering them around is not going to get that

Tracy: Yeah I mean absolutely when we’re negotiating with clients what we’re doing is making them feel like they have self-worth and respecting them and they’re autonomous and often clients haven’t been treated like that before so we’re giving them a really strong message and so while negotiating might be something that isn’t happening every second of the hour it’s a really important part that encompasses everything that we do

Philip: So you’re saying that in your environment that’s important because they’ve never been treated that way before and never been listened to really

Tracy: Absolutely and I think most people out there probably don’t feel very listened to or at least heard because you can listen without hearing and that’s one thing we teach when we train them to be counselors

Rob: There’s one lovely little phrase that I’ve seen on social media recently and its leaders that don’t listen will soon be surrounded by people with nothing to say

Philip: And it’s difficult to actually gain those skills overnight to be perfectly honest. There are lots of people that use facial expressions and it is incredibly important for people to feel that when they’re speaking, they’re speaking to a human being or showing empathy in a genuine way rather than a robotic way, it’s part of negotiation to be perfectly honest

Rachel: I’m really interested to hear how you all deal with almost a deadlock situation, when it can be really challenging to find some middle ground between the people that you’re dealing with

Philip: Sometimes you can’t find common ground that you’re going to agree on so you have to walk away take a step back and have a think about it and try and go back and find a different route to come to an agreement

Rob: I think you do have to sometimes recognize that not every single negotiation can be successfully concluded and there are times that you have to walk away, you hope this doesn’t happen too often but it does happen

Tracy: I had a tense time with a client recently who wasn’t crazy about where my boundaries were, but I was clear and stood my ground and explained very nicely why they were like that and why they couldn’t be changed and tried to understand where he was coming from and it worked out

Rachel: Do you find it really difficult to switch off and when you’re at home you’re still thinking about work and it to come to some sort of resolution?

Rob: I think it’s inevitable sometimes we try to I guess otherwise you just get 24 hours but if it’s really important and it’s really difficult you do end up reflecting on it

Philip: Especially in todays environment where it’s 24/7 with emails via smartphones and sometimes you can’t resist a temptation to go back to an email and reread it and then you’re thinking about it even more so it’s trying to get a boundary where you say, no that’s enough

Tracy: I mean I guess as a counselor you wouldn’t be particularly human if something didn’t go outside and its also part of our ethical requirement where we have to take care of ourselves and take selfcare as part of our job in our best interests and the client’s best interest that we don’t take this stuff home all the time

Rob: And dealing with people’s emotions, is sometimes quite difficult, I had one not so long ago when one of the parties said to me if they went into that room and saw that person they’d punch them in the face and they weren’t being metaphorical, they were being real because they were so angry about the situation so I said lets not have a meeting now then because that’s going to be a bad result

Philip: And that’s the negotiation thinking through that and thinking about how you actually negotiate to get a situation where two people can share common space

Rachel: Do you find that you use the skills you’ve learnt negotiating at home and does it work out for you or do your friends and family know exactly what you’re trying to do?

Philip: I think sometimes you have to take a step back when you get home and remember that you’re not at work anymore and you’re not negotiating, and this is not a hard hat on

Tracy: Yeah the minute I say to my friends so how do you feel about that they look at me with great distain

Rachel: Thank you very much to Rob, Tracy and Phil for joining us for one size fits all and we’ll have another one very soon here at BBC Wiltshire


Contact Inspire for more information on negotiation at work

If negotiation sounds like something you’d like to upskill on or develop your abilities in, contact Inspire by Wessex Chambers on 01225 355553 and we can help you by providing our expertise and introduce you to the right experts and introduce you to a community of growing businesses in the Wiltshire area.

© Copyright 2018 The Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce t/a Inspire

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