How are your negotiation skills?
You may not realise it, but negotiating is something you do every day.
Developing good negotiations skills is important both in business and life.
To become a great negotiator, you need to master a specific set of skills.
Luckily, anyone can do it – all it takes is awareness and practice.
Here are 10 tips to help you improve the outcomes and value of all your negotiations.
Tip #1 – Set the Scene
Create an environment that’s conducive to a successful negotiation.
It should be relaxing, with few distractions.
Don’t use a meeting room or other venue that might feel cold and intimidating.
The surroundings should be casual so that you can foster a personal connection.
Tip #2 – Aim for a Win-Win
The goal of negotiation isn’t just to get what you want.
A good negotiation results in both parties walking away happy with the results.
When preparing and discussing with the other party, focus on what ideas would benefit both parties, not just one.
Tip #3 – Start the Negotiation with Areas of Agreement
Open the discussion by stating your areas of agreement.
Give the other party a chance to correct or clarify anything you said.
Once you have established the common ground, use that as a positive foundation from which to tackle any disagreements.
Tip #4 – Prioritise Your Objectives for the Negotiation
Before the meeting, list your objectives.
Choose one or several things you want to get out of the negotiation.
Prioritise these so you can focus on the most important first.
You may not get everything you want, but you’ll get the ‘must-haves’ that will render the negotiation a success.
Tip #5 – Do Your Homework
How well do you know the other party?
Do your research and get to know them.
Know their objectives and try to anticipate what they will say when you discuss yours.
Understanding the other party is essential for choosing concessions and alternative ideas.
Tip #6 – Prepare Concessions
Choose a few concessions – things you could give up or add to the deal that would benefit the other party.
Planning these ahead of time will give you a better position from which to negotiate.
Tip #7 – Be Assertive
Don’t be shy about stating what you want.
You have already identified your most important objectives, so stick to these.
Discuss ideas and options, always keeping your ‘must-have’ objectives in mind.
Tip #8 – Keep an Open Mind
Although you should be assertive and stick to your most important objectives, be open-minded and ready to consider alternatives or new opportunities.
When you discuss the points you disagree on, the other party will offer ideas.
The two of you will consider various options to find something that will work.
Tip #9 – Practice Active Listening
Among other things, active listening involves repeating back to the other person what they’ve said, to check for understanding and to demonstrate your attentiveness.
By paraphrasing and summarising, you can also make sure you understand their position fully.
Tip #10 – Focus on Relationship Building
Aim for a good outcome in this negotiation, but also make it a priority to build a strong relationship with the other party.
This ensures that future negotiations will be successful too.
Next time, I’ll tell you about the 10 most common negotiation mistakes to avoid.
In the meantime, grab your copy of my handy negotiation tip worksheet below.