Life is full of negotiations, both in work and in your personal life. At work, you may be negotiating a business deal with a client. At home, you may be negotiating with your teenager about borrowing the car and what time to be home. However, even though we all face negotiation situations in our lives, few people have ever been trained in the skills required.
1. Don’t make assumptions
It is easy to assume that you know what the other party in the negotiation wants and needs, but your assumptions can leave you with either an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the situation. The truth is that you cannot really know what their situation is and what they are thinking, unless you ask them. Rather than making assumptions, a good strategy is to start with a blank slate.
Ask open-ended questions, and let the other person explain what they need and why. This will lead you to a better outcome than relying on incorrect assumptions. Assumptions are bad for business as they’re usually used to fill in missing information. Also, these claims can’t be proven, as opponents can easily take you for granted.
2. Practice your listening skills
Too many people don’t really listen. They ask a question, but rather than listening to the answer, they are already planning ahead to what they are going to say next themselves. Listening is a critical skill in negotiation – perhaps the most important skill of all. Ask your questions, and then practice active listening as the other party responds. Rephrase key points back to them to make sure you understand correctly. Ask follow up questions where needed. The information you gain can be valuable.
3. Keep emotions in check
Emotions can cloud your thinking, making it less likely that you will arrive at a rational decision. If you get emotional during a negotiation, it gives an advantage to the other side. As much as possible, try to set your emotions aside, and deal with the negotiation logically, making decisions based on facts, not feelings. If you find yourself getting emotional, try to step away from the table for a break, so that you can regain your composure before proceeding.
Control your body language as well; nervousness and anxiety lead to excessive sweating, shaking, and mumbling. Stop biting your lip and have the courage to look your opponents in the eye. Talk less if you’re too nervous to state your mind, use short sentences and only answer questions when somebody ask you something.
4. Don’t be desperate
If you are seen as being needy or desperate for a deal, then it gives the other party an enormous advantage. They will perceive that they can ask for any terms or concessions they want, and you will give in because you are desperate to close the deal. You are no longer on an even playing field – you have given the other side an advantage. In order for you to achieve a better outcome, you need to avoid seeming needy. Remember that you want this deal, you don’t need it.
5. Be ready to walk away
Have a fallback plan in mind before you enter the negotiation. What will you do if you don’t reach an agreement? Is there another supplier you can use? A completely different solution you could implement? When you are prepared to walk away from an unfavorable deal, it puts you in a more powerful position in the negotiation. The other party will realize that in order to close the deal, they will have to come up with terms that you like.
Although classic negotiation techniques can help business people get a good deal, sometimes it’s good to refresh your style by strengthening the technique. Never allow opponents to see the real you, control your emotions, and be honest. Ask for what you think you deserve, don’t hold back! Too many people assume that negotiations are confrontational and stressful. While that can happen, it’s up to you to make the whole meeting laid back and relaxed. Talk gently, maintain a proper attitude, be professional, and find a way to reach a solution without having to use an aggressive behavior.
By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership.com!
Here are som emore tips to help you strengthen your negotiation techniques.