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. Therefore, you a re going to need to draw on your patience, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.
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:
Consider whether you need to use integrative or distributive tactics
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.
Become a great listener
The most important skill in negotiation is to listen. 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.
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.
|||^||SkillsYouNeed: What Is Negotiation?|
|||^||Chron: Differences Between Distributive Bargaining & Integrative Bargaining|
|||^||The Negotiation Experts: 5 Effective Tips To Improve Your Negotiation Skills|