Negotiating is a skill. If you are the type of person who likes to get what they want while also feeling good about the process, then you might be interested in these tips for becoming a better negotiator. Always remember that a negotiation is a conversation between two separate and unique individuals with different wants and needs.
What’s in it for you
Always ask yourself “What do I want?” throughout the entire negotiation process. This will help you to stay focused on your goals, and keep you from becoming distracted by small things that you normally would not pay much attention to. Have an idea of where you want to go with the negotiation. It is important to have a goal in mind because it will help you stay on track and be clear about what you are looking for. Know your goals well enough to know when to walk away from a negotiation or if it is time to give up on one that is not going anywhere. Be firm on your boundaries yet flexible within them. Nothing is set in stone and if you have a set boundary you do not want to cross, then make sure you are willing to negotiate within it. Be ready to make compromises based on the progress that is made towards your goals throughout the negotiation process. Sometimes you need to give something up in order for you or them to get what you both want out of it, but this should not come from a place where you think they are getting something they do not deserve, but more like something they really need. Never be afraid of asking for what you need, especially when it comes to getting what you want, since this demonstrates that you are serious about these negotiations and willing to give up something important in order for the other person to get what they want out of it. Be prepared to walk away from a negotiation if it is still going nowhere, and risk no deal. This shows that you have confidence in yourself and the negotiation process, but also shows that you are willing to risk something to get what you want. Be prepared to sacrifice something personal in order for you to get what you want out of the process. The last thing you want is to be in a situation where you feel like all of your personal energy and free-time has been used for something that really does not work well for either party involved and then have it come apart at the end due to lack of communication on both sides or lack of follow-through by either person, so be prepared to give up your time, your thoughts, and maybe even something very dear to your heart if necessary. Always be aware of your personal feelings during the entire negotiation process. Sometimes these feelings may become hurt or angry if a situation does not work out your way and at other times they may feel elated to have achieved something that has been difficult for so long. But always focus on the end goal.
What’s in it for them
Be sure to listen to him or her throughout the process as they have a lot of valuable information about what is going on and what they want out of you. Be empathic to their needs and wants. This will allow you to see things from their point of view and will enable you to create potential solutions that meet them where they are at. So do not try to treat them as one-size-fits all situations because it will be difficult for both parties to get what they need out of the process. Provide options for your counterpart to explore based on their interest level. This will show that you are trying to meet their individual wants and needs. Never make commitments that you cannot follow through on. This demonstrates that you are trustworthy and trustworthy people usually get what they want in the end.
About the process
Establish the ground rules early on in the process. Give your negotiating partner an idea of what you expect out of each conversation or set of negotiations and it will help them to make decisions and even anticipate things that might be important to you, and so they can make informed decisions well before the process begins.
Demonstrate that you are honest and transparent in your intentions. This is a sign of respect and that you are willing to work through the process together. It also shows that you have nothing to hide. Make decisions in good faith always. If you have decided on something then follow through with it. Every decision made should be in the best interest of both parties. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions throughout the negotiations process as they are the map of your internal feelings and reactions, and they can make them feel like a friend or foe based on how they interpret what they see. Always maintain a good sense of humor during the process. This goes a long way to helping you to feel at ease and comfortable as the other party, and it can be a great source of anticipating their needs on these sometimes stressful or uncomfortable conversations that are sometimes highly charged with emotional energy. Always be clear in your communication with others throughout the process. This is not only essential when speaking with your negotiating partner but also demonstrates that you are not hiding anything on purpose. Never look for perfection in a situation that you cannot change, and instead focus on the positive aspects of it and use them as teachable moments from which to grow. Always watch your own responses and reactions throughout the process. What you think, feel, say, and do will always affect both of you so be conscious of these things constantly. Never ever blame each other for any of the issues that come up during or after the negotiation process. This could cause a very negative and even volatile reaction from one party that may not be helpful to either one of you if there is a resolution to be had at all. Be positive throughout the process. This is easier said than done, but being positive and upbeat will help to make the process go more smoothly because you are not complaining and this type of attitude can sometimes help others open up to you a bit more or even make them feel more comfortable around you.
These are just a few tips for those who are interested in becoming a better negotiator. It may not be easy, but it can be fun and you might find yourself winning a lot more when you are focussed on the process of getting what you want out of it and are smart about it! These are the things that will make you a great negotiator in any situation, big or small!