On Friday, May 20, 2011, the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics at Haigazian University organized a forum on “Negotiation” as part of a series of events on the occasion of the university’s 55th anniversary.
Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Dr. Fadi Asrawi, greeted everyone and briefly highlighted the importance of negotiation as it occurs in everyday life.
This was followed by some warm words of welcome from President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian. Haidostian emphasized that just as learning in the classroom prepares students for engaging with the outside, negotiation begins with the mind.
Tackling the topic on a deeper level, Haidostian concluded by saying that “negotiation is empowered by an attitude of going the extra mile.”
As a human resource professional and instructor at Haigazian, Ms. Cecilia Moudabber introduced the concept of negotiation by giving a brief definition. She then shared her views on the importance of negotiation, particularly in Lebanon, as a viable alternative to confrontation.
“Negotiation is a highly trainable skill” Moudabber explained, going over some of the strategies. She concluded by saying that “negotiation is a complex process and needs to be looked at from different perspectives.”
There to give one perspective was Mr. Wael El Helou, director of “Trace – Training and Coaching Executives,” who focused his presentation on the sources of conflict within organizations.
El Helou defined negotiation as “a quest to understand the other’s position and attempt to find the best possible outcome for both conflicting parties.” He engaged the audience in a discussion on how every person views the world differently and needs to learn how to communicate accordingly.
“We have to agree that we need each other,” added El Helou, concluding that the ideal situation for negotiation is when everyone can freely give their views and are respected for their
Providing a psychological perspective on this issue, psychiatrist Dr. John Gebrane discussed three “challenging” personality types in negotiation settings. Dr. Gebrane delineated the symptoms of people with narcissistic, obsessive compulsive and borderline personality traits and discussed how best to negotiate with them.
Dr. Gebrane ended his speech by stressing the importance of recognizing these personality traits and retrieving background information on people before negotiating with them.
After a brief coffee break, the forum resumed with Maître Nadim Abboud, an attorney and educator, offering a legal perspective on negotiation skills needed for agreements and contracts.
Abboud noted that the first issue to deal with in a negotiation is the people involved, thus working on easing the tension. “Don’t react with emotional outbursts,” Abboud warned.
After providing a number of suggestions, Abboud concluded that negotiators have to be creative and come prepared to bring more than one solution to the table.
The final speaker was Mr. Ghassan Boulbol, board member and president of the SME & Training Committee at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
Boulbol began by expressing his admiration for Haigazian University, as he believes in the interaction between universities and civil society. He then discussed the importance of negotiation for businesses, having “indirect positive effects on the national economy.”
Boulbol then discussed the various applications of negotiation at the Beirut Chamber of Commerce, such as using it as a tool for conciliation between business partners.
Having covered the different ways that people negotiate, Boulbol concluded that “negotiation remains a core element in life and business.”
The presentations were followed by a Q&A session, in which the audience addressed questions to the various speakers.