There seems to be an emphasis on the value of technical knowledge or skill in today’s world. It could be assumed that only the most talented end up with what they want whether it’s a job promotion or the power to choose the type of work they want to do. After all, hard work and dedication is what leads to the best jobs, right? Although that is mostly true, there are outliers who manage to always get their way and do so easily. You know the type. He’s not particularly talented but somehow appears to have it the easiest. Chances are, this person has learned the art of negotiation.
What Makes Good Negotiation?
“In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” – Chester L. Karrass
What exactly is “negotiation”? Simply put, it is the process of coming to an agreement when two parties have differences. A successful negotiation occurs when both parties gain a mutual benefit. Good negotiators are able to get what’s best for themselves without damaging the other party.
A classic example of great negotiation comes from studying how Mahatma Gandhi negotiated the independence of India from British rule in 1947. Through a combination of style, meticulous planning, patience, compromise, and execution, Gandhi was able to negotiate a successful independence from Britain without lifting a single weapon. It remains one of the most successful negotiations in political history.
The Art of Negotiation
Usually neither party has an advantage initially, but by keeping the following tips in mind you will be well on your way to a successful negotiation.
It’s so simple which is why it’s amazing how so many people mess this up. Don’t just listen to the words. Successful negotiators go beyond that by putting themselves in the other party’s shoes and understanding what he or she wants so that they can meet in the middle. Listening bridges the gap and makes the other side feel respected.
If you are negotiating with your boss for a pay raise, ask him specifically how you can do things differently to make his life easier. If you show him that you can deliver, then you will be in a much better position to negotiate a salary boost.
2) Make sure everyone walks away happy.
What’s the point of negotiating if it is just for the benefit of one party? Both parties are there because they both want to win. If you accomplish a win-win outcome, you will be more likely to succeed in the future as other people will be more open to negotiating with you, knowing that you are reasonable.
Let’s say you are negotiating with your son who wants to eat chocolate after school before he finishes his homework. You want the work done and he wants chocolate. If you negotiate an agreement where he can have chocolate after his homework is done, then both parties win. He still gets to eat his chocolate and you got him to do his homework without yelling.
3) What do you have in common?
It’s always better to focus on what you and the person you are negotiating with have in common rather than focusing on differences. Negotiation can be contentious, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. For example, if you are negotiating for a lower price on an old board game at a garage sale, a good approach would be to strike a conversation with the owner by asking him which is his favorite. By building up that rapport through your common love of board games, you will be more likely to get a reduced price.
Successful negotiation is a highly desirable skill that can be learned. With good negotiating skills, you will be able to help others get what they want while also achieving your own goals and desires.