We negotiate every single day of our lives, and as we grow older we have the chance to make a career out of this skill. When someone tries to negotiate a matter, the end result can have two main conclusions: accept reality and improve the skill, or don’t anything about it and agree to whatever deal. Expert negotiators are mentioning that we can all bargain to get something in our favor, yet very few are actually willing to do it. Negotiating is like an art, and if you don’t have the talent you can’t master it.
Methodologies and Phases
- The Pre-bargaining Phase – prior to venturing into a negotiation, you need an initial plan to get things ready. Prepare the information, get leverage (if you can), analyze the matter, make a report, have a budget in mind, have expectations, and last but not least, be prepared.
- The Bargaining Phase – When, how and where will you negotiate? Make an opening offer, think of a strategy, determine if you’re willing to compromise or not, and last but not least, find the best possible way to fix the problem and get the job done.
- The Closure Phase – Think of a smart way to close the deal, have a comprehensive logistics checklist at hand, and last but not least, take action.
Providing that you stick to a plan, you have great chances of reaching a convenient agreement. Yet, things are far from being done. There are certain guidelines you may want to have in mind prior to entering the negotiation table.
Don’t be nervous
You’ve got nothing to be scared off even if this is the first time you’re negotiating. As long as the other party can’t see that you’re anxious, you should be fine. Learn how to hide your emotions:
- Talk less if your voice is trembling
- Listen carefully so that you can ask the right questions
- Look the other party right in the eye
Attitude plays a very important part during a negotiation. Novice negotiators should know that in business there’s no such thing as ‘non-negotiable deals’. You may be a newbie, but this doesn’t mean you can give up just because you’re feeling trapped. To succeed you only need 4 main characteristics:
- High expectations
- Willingness to prepare
- Patience to listen
- Dedication to personal integrity
Compromise is omnipresent
You must always be ready to make compromises because sometimes it’s the only way to obtain a desired result. Expert negotiators are constantly trying to find acceptable compromises, mainly when the other party is too determined to get a deal in his favor.
- Keep the line of communication open – No negotiation can be fruitful unless the parties involved communicate well. This is an essential rule and you must never overlook its importance. One frequent mistake that most amateur negotiators make is to focus on the static elements of the issue and assume the opponent has the key to success.
- Cooperate, but never let your guard down – Cooperative negotiators are usually much more efficient than aggressive and competitive negotiators. In order to negotiate well, you will have to be fiddly, cautious and watchful. Ask many questions, and concentrate on what the other party is trying to obtain.
- Listen – Listening is very important during a negotiation, and you’re compelled to listen very attentively to what the other party has to say. Ask questions, test your knowledge, review discussions, and so on.
If you’re flexible during a negotiation and you’re willing to make concessions in the favor of your counterpart, you will have a lot of things to win. The other party will give up some extra things too and the overall process can be much more fruitful. It’s vital to have a main theme when negotiating because it will help you unify the case and approach the main issues in a more equilibrated and fair manner.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Stephen Day