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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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