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Last Updated on February 25, 2018

How to Win Every Negotiation Even When Your Opponent Is Winston Churchill

How to Win Every Negotiation Even When Your Opponent Is Winston Churchill

Negotiation is an everyday human interaction — a process that takes place when two or more people with different stances try to work together for a mutually beneficial result. This includes anything from an employee/employer discussing a pay rise, to a customer trying to get better deals, to a mother/son discussing leaving home. Negotiation happens all the time, but most rarely realize it. This is why negotiation skills are something that everyone should take up.

In a negotiation, compromise is key.  Each party will likely have to sacrifice something to get what they want, and they may not get all that they want.  Negotiation without compromise will never work. Here I will help you get the best out of a negotiation without sacrificing too much benefit to please others.

Know Your Counterpart and Know Yourself

Identify your position.

This will make you strong yet flexible, and less susceptible to rash decision-making or influence from your counterpart, even when negotiations become intense.

  • Specify your objectives. Envision what the ideal outcome will look like to you.  Be specific. Articulate what the conclusion to your negotiation is so you know how to work towards it.  Now do a reality-check.
  • Ask yourself – what might I need to sacrifice to get what I want?  Categorize these items into what’s negotiable, and what isn’t. This helps you identify two important parameters: (i) your ideal outcome and (ii) your minimum acceptable outcome – the point at which you are no longer willing to negotiate.
  • Prepare a backup action in the event that the negotiation does fail. Otherwise, you’ll be a weak negotiator, making regretful sacrifices under pressure in order to come to an agreement at any cost.

Identify their position.

Get as much information as possible about what your counterpart really wants. If you can understand what they truly value, you can offer them an appealing solution that also benefits you.

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Both parties should disclose all of the points that are up for negotiation. When you both know what’s at stake, it becomes clearer where you can both benefit (a win-win scenario) and where some give-and-take will be necessary.

Say a disgruntled employee who used to be conscientious suddenly complains about her salary. At face value, your main options are to increase her pay for doing the same work or refuse and risk losing her.  However, when you take the time to talk with her, you discover that it’s not really about the salary. She has high ambitions but was overlooked for a recent promotion opportunity. Then you can propose to support her to help her rise in the company.

Build Trust, Not Enemy

A key goal in any negotiation is to build trust. Earning trust helps you both during the negotiation and in the longer term.

Even with difficult negotiations, always be the party open to finding a mutually beneficial solution. Remain professional and follow the above steps, from preparation, to manoeuvring, to the negotiation’s conclusion.

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Firstly, being professional gives you the edge in the process, as it encourages transparency and cooperation from your counterpart.

Secondly, even if you can’t come to an agreement in a particular negotiation, your counterpart will leave the encounter knowing that you are firm, flexible, clear, and honest. Worthy counterparts will return to you for future negotiations, and non-worthy opponents will realise that they need not try their luck with you.

Give Them Freedom

Prepare multiple give-and-take options. To give your counterpart the ability to choose is a powerful bargaining advantage to you.

Imagine you’re a parent who wants your toddler to eat more vegetables. Instead of repeatedly asking them to eat, and getting a ‘no’ as a response, you could prepare two different types of vegetables and ask them if they want to eat the broccoli or the peas.

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Doing this reframes the options from ‘yes’ vs. ‘no’ into ‘this’ vs. ‘that’. Your toddler feels empowered because they’ve made an independent choice. And of course, since your goal was for them to eat more vegetables, ‘this’ vs. ‘that’ is really a disguised ‘yes’ vs. ‘yes’.

Be Silent About Your Sacrifices

Don’t reveal the value of your sacrifices. I’m not suggesting that you be dishonest. Keep matters straightforward because value is in the eye of the beholder.

A small sacrifice for you may be of great benefit to your counterpart. If you inadvertently reveal to them your most painful sacrifice, they’ll perceive that to be the thing of high value.

Offer low value sacrifices early in the negotiation as another way of showing goodwill. It helps to lower their defences and sets a cooperative tone. Similarly, package together several low value sacrifices to satisfy your counterpart.

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Now imagine you’re going to a fishing region for your next family holiday. It’s further away than where you usually go for holidays, and isn’t quite as fun for children. After discussing it with the family, they’ve agreed to the holiday that you want. And you’ve agreed that you’ll (i) clean and tidy the car before you leave, (ii) do all the driving, (iii) take your 10-year old to the nearby zoo on two of the days away. This seems like a lot of work, but you enjoy driving, you need to tidy the car anyway to fit in your fishing gear, and you like spending time with your 10-year old.

Make Yours a Limited Edition

In other words, emphasize its value by informing your counterpart that your offer has a time limit. The goal is to get them to envision a possible future where your deal is no longer available to them. This should compel them to apply value to your offer in the present, and take action.

I have a friend, Michelle, who makes dresses. She agrees to make six dresses for a client (a boutique clothing store) at a discounted rate because it will solve a pressing cash-flow problem. However, she doesn’t apply a deadline to her offer. As a result, the client has achieved what he wanted in principle and doesn’t bother executing the deal for several weeks. Since then, Michelle has made sure that any deals she makes are strictly on the condition that her clients accept the offer within the week.

Delay, Delay, Delay

Don’t be too quick to respond, otherwise you may seem desperate. This may make your counterpart suspicious. Or a ruthless opponent may take advantage of your apparent desperation to close. Furthermore, the party who can afford to wait can increase their bargaining power.

Say you are really keen on a certain PA role and you know they’re keen to take you on, but their salary offer is lower than the minimum amount you’d accept. Instead of making a quick decision, emails them to say you’re not convinced, and that you’ll look at your options and let them know. Wait a few days, the HR will find you to ask if you’ve made your decision yet. If you say no, they may even raise their offer.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Keep the above tactics in mind and you will master every negotiation. Remember, negotiation requires compromise. The outcome of a negotiation should always be beneficial to both parties.

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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