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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 April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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