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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

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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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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