By Daniel Freeman, Senior Consultant, Scotwork International (Ireland)
I expect that you will have encountered or seen a version of artificial intelligence (AI) at some point. You may have asked Siri or Alexa what the weather will be tomorrow, used Chat GPT to summarise an article, or even watched Terminator or Tron. As sci-fi as it seems, AI is becoming smarter every day and being utilised in our daily lives whether we realise it or not. You may be wondering at what stage AI will be able to do your job, or if you can use AI to manage the menial parts of your day to day for you. If regular negotiation is part of your regular role, you may have even thought about AI negotiating for you. If AI can make multiple calculations and project scenarios in a fraction of a second, can it negotiate for me?
As someone who trains people to be better negotiators, it’s certainly crossed my mind. Is AI something to be wary of or is it a godsend? The answer it seems, lies somewhere in between. At this point in time, there are things AI cannot replace when it comes to negotiating. An AI cannot replace the history you’ve built with client relationships, it won’t know how to identify long term opportunities for your organisation, it can’t pick up on the nuances of human emotions or adapt to cultural behaviour, and it can’t account for practical role experience and having a gut feeling about something. Maybe it can’t replace what makes us human, but there are things that it can help with in order for you to make the best use of your time. Here are five things your negotiations could benefit from by using AI.
Sometimes we don’t get all the time we need in order to prepare for negotiations as best as we can. We can ask an AI to do some of the heavy lifting for us so we don’t spend the valuable time we have scrolling the internet to get the information we need. An AI can pull together marketing research, provide facts and figures on current market conditions that we might use to establish our position in a negotiation and back up our arguments. The AI has the internet at its fingertips, use it as creatively as you can to prepare as best you can.
It’s not always clear what strategy is the right one to take in a negotiation, there may be several different paths towards the result you want, but which one is the best? An AI could help play out your strategies in real time and see how successful they are likely to be, outlining the pros and cons of each path. It can give you other strategies you may not have thought of, or troubleshoot any strategies that aren’t working. This could save you time, and possibly a headache playing out every possibility in your head trying to make your decision.
3. Opening statement
How often do you plan what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it as soon as you begin a negotiation? We can spend a lot of time thinking about how best to word our opening remarks to the other party when we begin a negotiation, or maybe you haven’t even had time to think about it. Instead of writing out from scratch what we think is the best way to word our opening statement, we can ask AI to write one for us and tell it the scenario, what to include, what we think the tone should be etc. This can save us quite a bit of time, but an opening statement will still need sense checking and a human perspective.
It can be difficult trying to predict what the other side will say and what arguments they will use to counter the points you’re trying to make. We can use AI to try and predict any possible responses to our questions or points, and use those responses to be better prepared for any possible push back. A lot of time in negotiations is wasted by arguing with the other side. If AI can help us be better prepared for their arguments, we might feel more confident and waste less time concentrating on negotiating rather than arguing.
5. Analysing and reviewing contracts
Depending on the length and time taken to agree a deal, as well as the complexity of the issues involved, reviewing a contract could take hours, days or weeks. An AI could help you speed up this process, scanning the document for legal clauses, even giving you examples of past legal cases that were based on a particular clause. An AI can quickly make overall changes, reword elements or generate summaries for the most important sections. If an AI is effective enough, it may even be able to create parts of a contract for you once it has all the relevant information. AI may not be able to replace the human eye, but it can certainly save us time to work through large amounts of data and information.
There are a lot of things an AI can do to improve your workflow, but can an AI negotiate for you? Relationship-based negotiations require a human element, something an AI cannot replace. AI has no common sense, wisdom or empathy which is sometimes needed in negotiations. Using AI as a productivity tool instead of a replacement to aid you in your negotiations is more of a realistic prospect. This depends on how creative you are with it; it can’t replicate you and how you think, but it can help you with exploring ideas, giving you a starting point and saving you time with preparation and contracts.
Just remember, anything you utilise an AI for, it uses to learn and grow. So have a think what company data you choose to share with it…
Learn more about Scotwork: https://bit.ly/45XECks