Possessing strong negotiating skills can make a big difference in your career. It can help you earn more money, achieve a higher status, and reach your business goals.
Despite the myriad of benefits, very few people are good negotiators. Why is this the case? Well, many people are too worried about being pushy to embrace a strong negotiating stance. However, negotiating is nothing to be afraid of; when it is done well, it doesn’t come off as pushy at all.
Although strong negotiating skills are not something that most people are born with, these skills can definitely be learned and developed over time. All that is required to improve your skills is an understanding of the basics and the courage to practice in real-life situations.
In a nutshell, negotiating is about protecting the value that you provide to others. Think of negotiating as…
- a simple process to follow
- a thoughtful interaction with another person
- a way to determine even better solutions
Follow the ten tips below, and you will master the basics and be well on your way to becoming a negotiating powerhouse.
Do your homework
Research the topic and think through your options before you initiate the discussion.
Clearly define your goals
Prior to the discussion, make sure you are clear on what you want as well as your “walk-away” point (the minimum outcome you’re willing to accept).
Determine the best timing for the discussion
You’ll want to plan enough time for the discussion and to hold it when all parties are relaxed and calm.
Ask for what you want
Don’t be afraid to explain your needs and what you’d like the outcome to be. However, be sure to do so calmly and in a non-confrontational tone of voice.
See the situation from all angles
Try to understand where the other person is coming from; try asking them to tell you about their needs and key concerns.
Listen, listen, and listen some more
Spend more time listening than talking during the discussion.
Find a creative solution
Think win/win, not that someone must walk away a winner and the other a loser. There’s nothing wrong with working together to determine creative ways to meet the needs of both parties.
Remain calm and avoid getting emotional
The more emotional you become, the more clouded your thinking will be. Keep it logical.
Focus on the issues, not on personalities. Be pleasant and never make it personal.
Remember that there will always be a tomorrow
If the discussion heads in a negative direction and tempers flare, it’s okay to recommend picking up the discussion on another day after everyone has an opportunity to take a step back, relax, and think.
Don’t be afraid, embrace the process, and start practicing your negotiating skills today!
For more information on negotiations read our article on the “Job Offer Negotiation for Employees“.