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How To Negotiate With People Who Have More Sway Than You

How To Negotiate With People Who Have More Sway Than You

The workplace can be an intimidating environment, especially when you land the task of negotiating with people with more sway than you. We are not going to lie and say that negotiating with powerful people is easy, because unfortunately it isn’t. However there are a number of things you can do to improve your argument and make yourself more confident in your approach to negotiating.

1. Prepare what you are going to say

There is no such thing as over-preparing for a negotiation. Do your homework to ensure that you not only have enough knowledge of the subject of your negotiation, but also the person you will be negotiating with. The more effort you put into preparing for a negotiation, the more confident you will be. The other person will be able to pick up on your confidence and knowledge and is likely to take you much more seriously.

For example, say you are negotiating with a higher-level colleague about the appropriate action to take with your campaign, in order to drive successful results. Preparing your argument and why you believe you should take a specific approach, over their approach (with facts and figures to back up your points) will show the other person that you have done your homework and help them to see things from your perspective.

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2. Anticipate what the other person wants from you

Part of your preparation process should involve thinking about what the other person wants. Predicting their argument and any objections they may have to your argument, will allow you to find facts and statements to back yourself up with. Thinking about what the other person wants from you will allow you to incorporate how you are going to meet their needs in your argument, making it stronger and harder to say no to.

Say for example you were asking for funding to hire an assistant. You would need to anticipate what the other side requires to justify the additional expense. This would involve proving that you required an assistant and how it would benefit them e.g. increased productivity levels, better efficiency, more profit.

3.  Keep calm

It is natural to feel intimidated when negotiating with someone with more sway than you, but the key is to keep calm. Whether you are negotiating a pay rise or funding for your project, it is important to remember that although the other person is more powerful than you, you have earned the right to converse with them.

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Think positive and tell yourself and others that you are feeling confident and have a great case to make. Telling other people that you feel nervous about your negotiation can make you feel more nervous. Taking a few deep breaths will also help to calm your nerves and focus your mind.

4.  Think positively and aim high

Always think positively and aim high. That way, you won’t be disappointed when the person you are negotiating with meets you somewhere in the middle. In order to aim high you need to understand and believe that you and the case you are making are of value to the other person.

Aiming high works particularly well when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. If you ask for more money than you believe you will get and have facts such as successful projects you have worked on and your experience to back you up, it is more likely that your manager will meet you in the middle and you won’t leave disappointed.

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5.  Listen carefully

While anticipating what the other side may be arguing is essential when preparing your argument, it is still important to listen carefully to what they are saying during your negotiation. You never know, they may not ask for as much as you predicted, allowing you to tailor your comeback accordingly.

Listening to the person with more sway than you will also show you respect them and in turn command far greater respect for yourself. Show you are listening to them by asking the right questions, preferably open-ended ones that will allow you to gain more information as to what they require of you.

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    6.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

    There is little point in negotiating with someone if you compromise on what you want from the beginning. Enter the negotiating knowing exactly what you want to achieve from it and do not be afraid to ask for what you want. Providing you have points to back up why you deserve a pay raise, funding, job or whatever you are negotiating, will show that you are assertive and have self-worth.

    7.  Remember that you can always walk away

    Always enter negotiations knowing that you can walk away if the other side is unwilling to compromise. If your negotiation is going nowhere and you are unwilling to walk away, you may appear desperate. Showing you are prepared to walk away if you cannot negotiate a satisfactory will with show the other person that you mean business.

    Although these techniques may seem simple, following them will go a long way in helping you to achieve your goals. Even if you have less sway than the person you are negotiating with, using these techniques will show that you are knowledgeable and have a valid case to make. Keep calm and positive, listen carefully, back up your points with facts and remember that you always have the option to walk away.

    Featured photo credit: Fotolia via financefox.ca

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

    But what does being productive actually entail?

    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

    1. Avoid Multitasking

    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

    2. Turn off Notifications

    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

    3. Manage Interruptions

    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

    4. Eat the Frog

    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

    5. Cut Down on Meetings

    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

    6. Utilize Tools

    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

    Some examples of tools that could be used:

    Communication
    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
    • Samepage for video conference software.
    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
    Task Management
    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
    • Wekan for an open source option.
    Database Management
    Time Tracking
    • Clockify for a free tracker.
    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

    7. Declutter and Organize

    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    8. Take Breaks

    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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    9. Drink Water

    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

    The Bottom Line

    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    More About Boosting Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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