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How to Negotiate Skilfully to Get What You Want All the Time

How to Negotiate Skilfully to Get What You Want All the Time

Negotiation is often unpleasant but necessary, in business, in the workplace, and in life. Some of us dislike negotiation so much we avoid it whenever we can.

When it comes to salary negotiations, to take just one example, a Salary.com survey [1] found one-fifth of all workers don’t negotiate salary at all when given a job offer. Nearly half of those surveyed – 48 percent – said they always get nervous when it comes to salary negotiations, and a further 39 percent sometimes do. When asked why, 18 percent said they think negotiation is inherently unpleasant.

But because negotiation is necessary, it’s important to work to change those feelings of angst and learn to negotiate in a way that makes both you and your clients feel good.

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Why is Negotiation So Hard?

Why do people tend to find negotiation so difficult in the first place? Part of the reason is because it can be uncomfortable to ask for what you want. Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you don’t deserve the success you have, and if you do anything to call attention to yourself – like asking for a raise – everyone will notice that you somehow snuck into your position and don’t belong there at all.

It’s also a skill that’s not really taught, and indeed includes a combination of skills [2] that take time to learn, such as:

  • confidence
  • the ability to read other people
  • listening skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • emotional control
  • communication skills
  • teamwork
  • ethics

Another problem is that we just don’t trust each other. Research by professor Karen Walch has found that, while 40 percent of people think of themselves as trustworthy [3]in a negotiation, most people think the other party in the negotiation is only out to win. Starting out from a place of mistrust can make a lot of negotiations go south.

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Why is Negotiation a Key Skill?

Negotiation comes in handy in a lot of areas of life, not just when you’re starting a new job or asking for a raise. You will negotiate with coworkers when you work on projects together, with your boss for vacation time, with clients and potential clients on specs, deadlines and project costs, among other things.

Being able to negotiate well is a key to getting what you want in a lot of situations. Learning this skill can help you gain confidence in other areas of business and life, too, because you know that you will be comfortable asking for what you need and can make your clients or business associates feel good about negotiating with you.

How to Improve Your Negotiating Skills

One aspect of better negotiation has to do with mindset. If you tend to go into negotiations thinking the other person is just out to beat you (or that you have to be in it to win it), you will be a lot more combative and less flexible, which could make the whole deal go wrong.

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Negotiation is communication and collaboration. If you can think about negotiating as a relationship instead of as people on different sides, one of whom will “win” and one will “lose,” you’ll be starting in a much better place. It might also help to think of negotiating as asking, and that you don’t have to get everything you want in order for the process to have been a success.

When it comes to negotiating in business or on behalf of your business, it may also help to think of yourself as a member and representative of a team. What you’re asking is not just for you; it will benefit everyone in the company (this also helps if asking for something makes you feel greedy).

It’s also important to understand the culture of your company when it comes to negotiation. When you’re asking for a raise it’s helpful to know how others have approached the situation. And if you are negotiating with someone else on behalf of your company, it’s good to know if people who have been in your position before have tended to be hard-driving or more laid-back.

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To find these things out you’ll have to ask, and someone else in the company who may be better at negotiating could become a mentor or coach for you as you refine your style and gain confidence.

Make sure you plan ahead for meetings, do as much research as you can, and go in with an open mind but also a clear idea of what your goals are and you’ll be able to negotiate more strongly and have happier clients, too.

Reference

More by this author

Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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