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Make Your Words Count: 5 Tips on How to Negotiate at the Office

Make Your Words Count: 5 Tips on How to Negotiate at the Office

Whether you work from the comfort of your home office, or in a cubical 50 floors above the street, there’s one thing that you’ll never be able to avoid—negotiating.

There are some people that love the art of negotiation. Some even live for it. They thrive on the excitement, elevated blood pressure and adrenal rush that comes with the “search for agreement” that negotiations represent. I’m sure you’ve met these competitive types before: they almost always have the last word; they’re on the aggressive side of normal; they send back their salad because there weren’t enough croutons.

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Then there are they rest of us. We avoid negotiation, not because we’re scared, but because it’s so awfully close to an argument…okay, maybe we’re just the slightest bit scared. Or, rather, lets call it “out of our comfort zone,” instead of scared—that’s much more civil.

Regardless of how it you makes feel, negotiating is a skill that every business person needs—from the CEO to the temp secretary.  And when it comes to negotiating, it all about the words you choose and how you put them together. Literary types call that “diction.” We’re just gonna call it “owning it.”

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Here are some words and phrases to avoid when it’s your turn at the table.

“Somewhere In-Between”

9 times out of 10, negotiations are about one of two things: money, or time, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be talking about both simultaneously at one point or another.  Since both deal with what statisticians call “continuous variables,” meaning that they can go on forever, theoretically, you can discuss them in the same way. For example: let’s say you tell an employee or outside contractor that you need a job done “somewhere between 3 and 5 days from now.” Right from the start, you’re fighting against yourself by giving them two points to choose from, and showing them that you’re indecisive, which can be read as being a pushover. Not only that, but you’re almost always guaranteed to to end up waiting for the date furthest away, or if you’re talking money, paying the higher price.

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Ready, Aim, Raise…

…but it’s important not to aim too high. When your negotiation is centered on money—a salary or raise, for example—I find that it’s best to shoot first, aim high, and ask questions later. I know, I’m using a lot of gun metaphors—forgive me. There’s a reason (for the shooting first, not really for the metaphors) that you want to beat them to the punch: whatever number is thrown out first is the number that both partied focus on —it becomes a kind of anchor for the negotiation, and the price/raise/what-have-you is generally closer to that anchor than not.

“The Buck Stops Here”

First of all, no-one says that anymore. That phrase, which is roughly equivalent to saying “I’m the boss,” not only sounds ridiculous when thrown into a negotiation, but it also leaves you backed into a corner. Depending on whom you are negotiating with, the information that you ultimately make the decisions can help them force you into answering a question or signing a deal when you aren’t quite ready to do so.

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Keeping Calm (“Are We There Yet?”)

No matter what the negotiation is about, the party that comes out on top is usually the one who is the calmest. That means no looking at the clock, no complaining that “this is taking too long,” and please, take it easy to the bathroom breaks. You always want to seem like you have all the time in the world. Remember that the point of a negotiation is to get what you want out of the deal, not to end the negotiation as soon as possible.

Keeping Cool Reprise

Obviously, you should enter every negotiation with a cool head, and try to keep it cool throughout the proceedings. If you’ve seen any police procedural or lawyer drama, you’ll know that getting your counterpart’s blood hot is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get what you want. Don’t fall into the trap: you’re better than that.

Featured photo credit:  Attractive Blond Young Woman With A Telephone Headset via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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