The protocol of negotiations – how to organize negotiations at the highest level

28 May 2024

An important criterion for business communication will be the formation of a positive image of the company, which is formed on the basis of various forms of communication through contacts with potential business partners. It is not uncommon for a situation to occur when the slightest blemish, ill-considered steps or inappropriate behavior during an audience leads to the fact that there are no results of meetings. The result of such ill–considered actions is the failure of the dialogue. To reduce this risk, it is necessary to have a negotiation protocol, which is actually an element of the rules of business etiquette. It is considered that if there is a proposal from one of the partners for a meeting, then this is the protocol.

Direct preparation of negotiations

Preparation of negotiations

Any beginning of the protocol of pre-contractual negotiations begins with organizational issues. As a rule, the set of questions includes the following points:

  1. Development of an admission program.
  2. Determining the circle of people who are part of the negotiation team.
  3. Choosing the location and time of the dialogue.
  4. Development of the agenda taking into account the number of rounds.
  5. Coordination of the audience with interested third parties (institutions, departments, organizations).

The next point will be the development and approval of the visit program, where it is required to clearly specify in detail all possible details of the meeting. This point must be agreed upon so that unforeseen situations do not arise later. The main principles of the program for the protocol of negotiations with the supplier are clarity, clarity and detail. The development of the program is carried out by an authorized person. The designated executor can be an assistant to the head of the organization, or a responsible profile manager of a division or protocol service:

  1. Compiling an event requires final approval with the invited half, where the following aspects need to be clarified.
  2. The definition of the hotel category is the number of persons involved, rooms, and type of reservation.
  3. Payment for accommodation. If the invited part covers the expenses, the available methods are specified – an invoice, non-cash, cash, bank cards of financial institutions. If the payment is made by the receiving participant, clarifications are made – the address of the hotel, the hotel, the conditions for stay, etc.
  4. For foreign visitors, the availability and validity of visas are specified. Assistance in processing migration documents.
  5. The choice of the mode of transportation is by car, bus, river or sea transport, rail trips, airplanes or helicopters. Clarification of the convenient time of arrival and departure of the main and additional visitors of the event.
  6. Development of the cultural program of the visit. Clarification of the places of visit, the circle of people, the definition of a comprehensive event scenario.
Business conversation

In general, the program of stay according to the protocol of negotiations includes the following points of the final pre-contractual report:

  1. Information about the arrival and departure of the delegation.
  2. Determination of the specified list of persons involved in the negotiation process.
  3. Information block about accommodation in a hotel (hotel).
  4. Information about transport, service personnel, and meals.
  5. Conducting business compliance.
  6. Definition of the cultural program.
  7. Appointment of responsible persons, executors of the negotiation process.
  8. The program is coordinated with the invited half, after which it is submitted for signature and approval to the head of the company.

Working nuances of the negotiation process preparation

According to the approved program, approximately 3-4 days before the appointed date, the responsible persons of the event perform the following tasks:

  1. Checking information about the arrival (departure) of partners. Specifying the place and time, flight or train number. If the tickets are purchased by the receiving entity, the issue of ticket redemption with subsequent receipt is clarified.
  2. Clarification of the list of members of the delegations of both subjects, clarification of the data of accompanying persons.
  3. Confirmation of booking of hotels and hotel complexes. Checking the quality of the rooms provided (the procedure is performed if the booking task was carried out by the receiving part).
  4. Clarification and resolution of transport issues. Determining the traffic of the travel route. Coordination of organizational issues with the driver, prompt notification of possible changes in the route of movement.
  5. Preparation of the audience area (room, hall).
  6. Checking the availability of office supplies, information and promotional materials of the meeting, clarifying the equipment of technical and informational means for the event.
  7. Purchase of food for the participants of the meeting (drinks, treats).
  8. Providing final information and information for interested persons in the dialogues.
  9. Ordering and manufacturing of additional advertising booklets, business cards and other visualization elements.
  10.  Informing the leader about the completed work with the provision of a preliminary report.

All information is entered in the report form, which indicates the time of the event, the name of the event, the address of the event, the responsible person, and the contact phone number.

Protocol moments of the reception of the delegation

Business Partner

In a situation where a business partner arrives for the first time for an audience, the delegation is met by the direct leader of the organization. Moreover, the rank and position of the leaders of the receiving and welcoming teams should be identical. In the future, if business relations between partners develop, an assistant manager or other official (trusted) person has the right to meet guests.

 According to the established rules, the head of the welcoming delegation is accompanied by no more than 2-3 people. It is important to take into account that if the representative arrives with the other half, then the senior person meeting the subject must be with her husband or wife.

To emphasize the status of the subjects or to pay homage to the guests, a meeting can be organized at the plane ramp or directly at the train carriage.

According to established protocol practice, there is a mandatory procedure for the presentation of visitors in the following order:

  1. The chairman of the host half.
  2. The husband or wife of the head of the receiving party (if necessary).
  3. Chairman of the invited part.
  4. The spouse or other related person of the head of the invited participant.
  5. The members of the meeting party (first women by rank, then men by rank).
  6. The members of the arrival team (the first to represent women by rank, followed by men).

An important point! Business cards are a mandatory attribute of the debate, which has its own presentation features. You never need to hand over business cards at the airport or at the train station at the time of arrival of the representative office. Business cards are sent only in the office, and only before the start of the dialogue.

Additionally, you need to take into account such a moment – the number of persons involved in the event. It is not allowed for the number of the host team to be greater than the number of guests, unless otherwise stipulated by the agreements.

There are certain features of the wires. According to the general rules, the elements of the audience and the wires have identical characteristics. However, there may be differences. The responsible person of the receiving part must, on the very first day, coordinate the points of the wires with the person in charge of the protocol on the part of the visitors. If the general wiring procedure remains in force, then there is no need to make changes to the organizational part.

Rules of the protocol of negotiations for the organization of movement by vehicle

Guests of the event

The guests of the event must be transported by car to the point of the dialogue. According to common practice, there are honorable and non-honorable places in the car:

  1. The most honorable place is considered to be the right rear seat in the direction of movement of the vehicle, while the driver’s seat is in front on the left. The head of the delegation is sent to this seat.
  2. The second most important seat will be the left rear seat, where the senior of the host team sits.
  3. Next to the driver’s seat there is an assistant of the protocol part of the head of the receiving half. This seat is also intended for an interpreter if they are foreign visitors.

This rule is provided not only for the delivery of a special purpose car, but also for traveling by taxi.

It is believed that the one who is the “guest of honor” should be the first to get into the car and the first to get out of it.

 If the senior of the host half is driving, then the guest of honor sits with him in the front seat.

If the delegation consists of more than 3-4 people, an additional vehicle is used for the meeting. A similar rule applies to the order of delivery of the vehicle. For the convenience of boarding the honorary representative, the car is driven to the sidewalk from the right side. If it is impossible to use the feed from the right side, it is allowed to change the status of the place of honor from the left side, provided that the car is fed to the left side of the sidewalk. Upon arrival of the car at the destination, the car is parked in such a way that the leader can step onto the sidewalk on the right side of the seat. The duty to close or open the door is assigned to the representative of the welcoming delegation, the driver of the vehicle, and sometimes to the interpreter.

When escorting visitors to a hotel or hotel, representatives should be escorted only to the reception, or rather to the counter. Then the visitors go to their rest rooms on their own. It is allowed to solve a number of organizational issues for further communication of guests. For example, you can specify the time and place of pick-up of the car the next morning. There should be no problems with the settlement itself, since this task was solved earlier.

Direct negotiations

Conducting negotiations

The organizational part has been completed, now we need to properly organize the debates themselves. The event organizer must know the rank and rank of each guest, each participant of the event, especially the invited half. The status of each participant in the debate increases the respectability of the event. Unjustifiably overestimating or underestimating the status of participants in the negotiation process can lead to undesirable consequences.

The initial stage of the debate is a certain order of action, which is necessary to develop a further strategy:

  1. Greetings from each team.
  2. The official presentation of the participants of the event, the exchange of business cards.
  3. Familiarization of all participants of the event with the program.
  4. Debate and exchange of views.
  5. Coordination of the details of the audience.

Keep in mind that the time for conducting dialogues has a limited effect. Therefore, it is necessary to make the schedule more saturated, since this will be beneficial for each team.

 Regarding the allocation of time, there is a recommendation to use the clock as follows:

  1. The debate time is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  2. The debate time is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  3. The first lunch is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  4. The second lunch is after 6 p.m.

Lunch and dinner assume a joint status for both teams. All members of the representative office of the inviting mission are required to be on site 5-10 minutes before the start of the dialogue. It is also allowed to speed up the process of holding debates by providing partners with a paper program at the airport or train station.

It is recommended to provide the following type of software for review:

  1. The agenda with an indication of the items of the issues.
  2. The rules of negotiations, indicating the time (start, end, general, breaks).
  3. The composition of the members of the delegations from both missions.
  4. Signatures of approval of the program of managers.

The optimal recommended time for dialogue is 3 hours, with breaks provided for at least 1 hour. Approximately 10-15 minutes before the end of the round of dialogues or a break, the preliminary results and further procedure of the parties are announced.

Business meeting

The conclusion of the debate also provides for certain actions:

  1. The participants take a shared photo.
  2. Gifts are exchanged.
  3. You can report the results of the debate to the press, if this is not a confidential part.
  4. The end of the meeting is decorated with a solemn lunch or dinner, sometimes a buffet is allowed.

The choice of premises for the dialogue is coordinated between the protocol service and the AHS (administrative and economic service). After choosing a room, the consent is given by the head. The leader’s office is used to conduct the negotiation process in face-to-face mode. The meeting room itself is prepared in the same way as during a meeting (conference rooms).

The rules of seating at the table

The generally accepted rule of the «right hand» applies here, which has its own characteristics:

  1. The leader of the welcoming mission sits across from the other head of the partnership. Each representative office has its own seating area.
  2. To the right of the head of the mission sits the second significant person of the mission. All other visitors take their seats according to rank.
  3. The translator sits to the left of the head. Sometimes the translator sits at the back on the right side.
  4. It is advisable to seat the members of the representative office by rank opposite each other so that communication can be carried out.

The rule of bad taste will be to seat visitors with their backs to the door. It is recommended to install nameplates for members of the representative office, which will help guests navigate when seating. The recommended optimal distance between the members of the representative office is 1.5 meters.

During the negotiation part, it is allowed to keep a written record of a business conversation or a special form «Protocol of negotiations». Moreover, the documents are drawn up in 2 copies for each of the missions. The report is handed to each side of the negotiation process, and, if translation is required, the specified work is carried out by responsible persons. It is allowed to keep a record in writing, on a dictaphone or using other technical means. In the latter case, if a video, voice recorder, or photo is used, it is necessary to coordinate each command for the use of these telecommunications facilities.

Important points of business negotiations

The speaker of the process is the same person for each round. As a rule, this is the head. You cannot interrupt the speech or interfere with the actions of the leader. The Speaker gives all members of the delegation a chance to speak on issues. If necessary, a consultant can be involved in the dialogue, who enters the conference room, gives his opinion and leaves.

Discussion of important issues

During the debate, you can not have conversations on abstract topics (family, weather, general opinion about the city, country, etc.). After the conversation, a record protocol is drawn up, which displays the following data:

  1. The total duration of the dialogue time, indicating the time of the beginning and end of the consultative process.
  2. Who is the organizer of the meeting.
  3. The list of persons involved in the conversation.
  4. The content of the conversation.
  5. When the next consultation or new meeting is expected.
  6. Signatures of the persons who conducted the conversation (managers).
  7. The date of the conversation record.
  8. The data of the responsible person who recorded the conversation.
  9. The records are issued in 2 copies.

The content of the conversation includes:

  • issues that were raised at the audience;
  • what documentation was provided to the teams;
  • what suggestions were made at the meeting;
  • which documents will be agreed upon soon.

At the end of the meeting, the missions can sign preliminary documents:

  1. About expectations (protocol of intentions).
  2. On partnership (cooperation agreement).
  3. On the results of the event (protocol).

The above documents have neither legal nor financial obligations. In fact, these are declarations that will become the basis for legally significant documents. In order to avoid trouble, it is recommended to indicate the absence of legal and financial obligations directly in the specified documents (preamble).

In the future, these documents are used to develop a full-fledged Agreement that will be legally binding for both entities. The document defines that each participant assumes responsibility in accordance with Russian or international law.

The negotiation protocol plays a key role in ensuring effective business conduct and achieving successful results. The communication format allows participants to maintain clarity and structure during the discussion, recording the main points, decisions taken and obligations of the parties. It is important to remember that a well-written report not only serves as documentation of the process, but also helps to prevent misunderstandings, conflicts and disputes in the future. The correct application of the basics of the protocol part increases the professionalism of the participants, contributes to building trusting relationships and significantly improves the results of interaction between partners.

Automatic summary of meetings in Zoom / Google Meets / Microsoft Teams