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Everything You Need to Become a Negotiation Expert (from Major Strategies to Small Tricks)

Everything You Need to Become a Negotiation Expert (from Major Strategies to Small Tricks)

Have you ever walked away from a conversation feeling as though you didn’t represent your wants and needs? If so, you may need to refine your negotiation skills.

In theory, negotiation should be easy. You ask for something, and the other person responds with a “Yes” or “No.” In reality, it’s trickier than that. This is because negotiation is not a single skill. You need to be aware that negotiation occurs in several distinct stages in order to stand the best chance of getting what you want. It is essential that you prepare what you need to say in advance, that you take part in a reasonable discussion concerning the issue, that you clarify the goals of each party, find a “win-win” situation, reach a final agreement, and then decide on a course of action[1]. Therefore, you a re going to need to draw on your patience, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.

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Although it is a complex set of skills that takes practice to master, learning how to negotiate will improve your life in many ways. You will be able to set out your arguments in a clear, concise manner without becoming overly emotional. You will be able to work with others to find the best solution for all parties. This applies to both your professional and personal life. In turn, this will decrease your stress levels, reduce feelings of resentment, and enhance your quality of life.

Follow the steps below to become a successful negotiator:

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Consider whether you need to use integrative or distributive tactics[2]

In a distributive situation, there are a finite amount of resources available to all parties, and the aim is to divide them fairly. For example, a seller and a customer may be negotiating the price of an item. In such a scenario, you should try and let the other side make the initial offer, because this lets you know immediately what they will sacrifice. You can also present alternatives to sway them one way or the other. For instance, if you are the buyer, tell them about their competitor’s products. Such negotiations are usually reserved for isolated, one-off agreements.

In an integrative negotiation, there is a chance that everyone involved could benefit from coming to a mutually beneficial agreement. For instance, three members of the same household may be negotiating how the chores are divided. Set out your priorities, and ask that the other parties do the same. Establish what is most important for each individual, and talk through all realistic solutions before arriving at an agreement.

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Become a great listener

The most important skill in negotiation is to listen[3]. Let others finish their sentences before jumping in. Talking over others will only lead to frustration. Even if you think you know what they are going to say, always give them the opportunity to put their ideas across. If you are not quite sure what they are trying to communicate, paraphrase their sentences back to them followed by, “Have I understood you correctly?”

Get creative when coming up with potential solutions

It can be hard to come up with solutions that benefit all parties. Allow yourself time to come up with new ideas. If everyone gets stuck, suggest a half-hour break. During this time, everyone should write down as many potential solutions as possible. This exercise can help jump-start a stalled negotiation.

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Learn about the other side

Before beginning a tough negotiation process, uncover as much information as possible about the other parties. How have they negotiated in the past? What are their short and long-term goals? This will help you prepare to deal with the tactics they may use.

Consider the “why,” not just the “what”

You should not only have a good idea of what it is you want, but why you want it. Be prepared to spell out your ultimate motives, as this can make your arguments more persuasive. For example, rather than merely asking your employer whether you can change your working hours, explain that you are making this request in order to spend more time with your young children or get them to school in the mornings.

Follow these tips and you are bound to enjoy better results when bargaining with other people. Negotiation does not have to be frustrating or stressful if you approach it properly.

Reference

More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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