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Perfect Negotiation: The 6 Stages That Help You Negotiate Successfully

Perfect Negotiation: The 6 Stages That Help You Negotiate Successfully

With everyone walking around with their own unique perspectives, beliefs and mindsets, it’s no wonder that we often come into conflict on opinions and decisions.

Even in our own minds we tend to come into conflicting thoughts in the process of coming up with a final win-win situation in our lives and this is where negotiation comes from. It’s the art of finding a mutually beneficial decision where the wants and needs of both parties are taken into account.

Why do I need good negotiation skills?

Negotiation influences our lives more than we may realise: negotiations matter within government issues, legal cases, international affairs and in domestic relationships. So developing the skill to negotiate in your personal and professional life will go a long way in improving the relationships with those around you leading to more harmonious outcomes and situations.

This is how negotiations play out in our everyday life

Take relationships, for example – when another whole and complete person is so entwined with our day-to-day life it’s inevitable that disagreements arise. It could be anything from deciding how to spend money, where to live, or how a particular career decision will affect your lives together. In these cases, good negotiation skills are necessary to achieve the best outcome for both people.

Ever get frustrated in meetings at work? People come from all sides and perspectives and all want the best outcome for themselves. This is a perfect space to be able to negotiate in a way that settles disagreements and issues calmly and effectively.

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Maybe you’ve been offered a job you love but the salary isn’t quite what you’re expecting. We could start off negotiating in our mind whether we should take the job or even negotiate with the employer to change the salary to something more desirable.

Even going to the hustle and bustle of a market can be a negotiating experience when we bargain for lower prices and try to hook the best deal we can.

So, how can I become a better negotiator?

1. Understand the situation

Knowledge is power so if you put effort into understanding the situation then you immediately have much more negotiating power compared to others. Exploring both sides before entering a negotiation will allow you to come up with the best result for both parties and you won’t be blindsided by any unknown facts.

Remember that when entering into a negotiation, it’s best to do it from the mindset of finding the best for both sides and not to win. This will pave the way for a more calm path in reaching a decision.

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2. Clarify your own goals

It’s also paramount to know clearly what your goals are and what would be the best outcome for you. By doing this, you won’t be overruled so easily by a particularly persuasive person especially if they come across as quite daunting.

Make a list of all the things you want the final decision to include and prioritise what’s important to you over what you could compromise on. It’s important to have deal-breakers if it’s for your ultimate happiness and crucial to think about why you want what you want.

3. Internally prepare for the situation

Life experience has caused us to understand that we can’t always get what we want. Negotiations imply that this is a situation that involves other people with different wants and needs and who’ll stand by them.

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List out the expectations of what the other parties would want together with your own and try to prioritise them into how much you value each point. Once you’ve done this, write out a list of lower expectations in order to map out your acceptance baseline – having this more ‘realistic’ list can help when you’re faced with a situation where the other party is starting to take too much control.

4. Listening skills are key in negotiation

Once you’re immersed in the discussion, the first thing you should do is to acknowledge what the other party wants. It can be hard to listen to a conflicting opinion but keep in mind that each side needs equal opportunity to voice their perspectives.

Clarify clearly what you want in a calm fashion and make sure you do listen to what they have to say in order to stop any confusion or misunderstanding.

5. Negotiate for the best win-win outcome

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A win-win outcome is achieved when both parties feel they’ve gained something positive through the process of negotiation. It doesn’t always mean you’ve agreed on everything on your initial list but both sides feel their point of view has been taken into consideration and the outcome reflects this.

Compromise and alternative suggestions always need to be considered from a space of mutual understanding and it’s now that you can refer back to your prioritised lists in your preparation.

6. Put your decision into action

Once your decision has been reached and, more importantly, understood clearly by both sides, it’s good to move forward with a shared plan of action. Remember to try and revisit every so often to keep yourselve updated on the progress and that it’s heading in the right, agreed direction.

Here are some more tips for smooth negotiating

If negotiating breaks down especially in a relationship setting where emotions are present and the stakes are high, it can lead to arguments that affect a core part of your life. Here are some tips to negotiate smoothly and effectively.

  • Listening and being personable is key to gaining the respect you need from others in this situation.
  • Be aware of the attitude of the emotions, in other words try to be emotionally intelligent about the discussion.
  • Be open and honest giving good, solid reasons why you want or oppose something. Make comments on the offer they suggest in a non-aggressive way. It’s important that both sides are understood.
  • Take time-out if you feel it’s getting heated and go for a walk.
  • By speaking first, you are setting the ‘anchor’ for the rest of the discussion so it can be an advantage to start off the negotiation.
  • Try to identify the mutual gains you share with each other as this builds the idea that you are both out to achieve similar goals. Once this is established you can work around it in the areas that you are trying to compromise on.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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