We all have to frequently be able to negotiate. While we may not realize it, negotiation is a big part of our everyday lives, it is not something that is simply reserved for high flying executives and officials. Negotiation is simply the settling of differences, bargaining to reach a desired outcome.
This can be something as large as negotiating a crucial deal for your career department, or something as small as negotiating with your child about what they can wear to school that day. However, whilst we all negotiate, we are not always great at negotiating. If you do not know how to negotiate successfully, then you will always end up with the raw end of the deal, or looking like a brute when you refuse to do a deal with another party. The art of negotiation is a simple skill to have which will ensure that you always get what you want from the other party.
This first step seems pretty obvious, but many people go into negotiations without being prepared. Of course, you need to know what you are going to ask for, but this is only a small part of being prepared. Do your homework. In order to be able to fully negotiate, you need to know everything about the matter that you are negotiating. You need to understand everything from the other side- how they will feel, what reservations they will have, what arguments they are likely to make. Having more knowledge will make you a stronger negotiator, and you won't be left clutching for words by being presented questions that you do not know the answer to.
Just as important as being prepared academically is being prepared mentally. Do not go into negotiations nervous, do not be afraid to ask for what you want. Know that everything is negotiable, and this will make you stand out from weak and unsuccessful negotiators. Learn how to be assertive in asking for what you want and in taking no for an answer, without becoming aggressive or upset.
In taking care of your own best interests, you also need to show respect and understanding for the interest of others, so challenge them but do not bully them. Show them that you are quick thinking, independent and that you are aware of all of the circumstances and know where you stand in the situation and what you are worth. You can show your assertiveness whilst still maintaining respect by choosing your words carefully.
Stay away from saying 'no' 'I'm not doing that' 'you can't do that' and instead say 'I'm not comfortable saying yes to this', 'I am not comfortable doing that', 'I am not comfortable with you doing that'.
It can be easy to drift off during negotiations, as if you have already decided that you do not want to go with their deal your mind can wander as you start thinking about how you are going to get around this. Alternatively, you could be assuming what they are saying, or jumping in while they are mid sentence to add your own ideas. Yet, it is easy to tell when someone is not listening, and it is extremely frustrating. Remember that you are trying to come to a deal with this person. You need to show them that you respect them- if you do not show your respect for them, they will not respect you and consequently place no trust in you. So, let them speak, and listen to what they are saying. Demonstrate to them that you have been listening and are eager to hear what they have to say by expanding on their points, or reflecting what they have said back to them.
Another reason that you should be listening is so that you do not end up having the wool pulled over your eyes. When someone is talking to you in a jovial, positive manner you can miss the part of the conversation where they mentioned a clause that will be bad for you, as they sandwiched it between two attractive points. Always be eagle eyed, and read between the lines when negotiating.
Paying attention to personal details can also benefit you and your cause. Make yourself more likable by looking out for things that you and the other side have in common, and then play on this. If you and the other party share a common interest, you can enthusiastically discuss this before you get down to the nitty gritty of the negotiating. You will transform yourself from a deal to a familiarity, and the other party will be more inclined to work with you rather than against you.
Whilst you are negotiating for the best deal for yourself, you have to remember that the other party wants to get something out of this also. It can be very easy to focus on only our own pressures, and why we need this deal to happen, but the other person needs the deal also- that is why you are negotiating. Understand what they need, and perhaps you can give it to them in return for them giving something to you. Work with their pressures, not yours.
Instead of trying to fix a win for only you, try to find a 'win-win' solution where you both benefit. The other party will be much happier to work with you if they are getting something out of it too. Whilst this may not always be in our best interest when it comes to negotiating the price of a car or a house, this tactic will always work with people. Show the other business that you are willing to help them out as well, show your child that you are not a tyrannical monster, and they will be more willing to negotiate with you on future deals in addition to the one at hand.
Acknowledge what the other person is doing, even if you do not agree with it. The other party may try to end the negotiations before you have even really gotten into it by asking about alternatives. For example, if you are trying to get a discount on a product and the person you are negotiating with says they do not have the authority, rather than getting angry at them for not being able to help or giving up hope and ending negotiations, ask them who does have the authority and who you can contact in regards to the situation.
By continuing the negotiations rather than ending them, the other party will feel that you are listening to them and will not want to end discussions promptly.
If you're negotiation a business deal and the other side is not going for it, then ask them what they feel would be best and if they have any alternative suggestions. Take this aspect of flexibility into negotiations with you. Instead of going into the negotiation with one strict desired outcome, think about all of the other possibilities and negotiate outside of the box and your chances of being more successful will increase greatly.