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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 December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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