Whether you like it or not, you have to negotiate your way through life. From daily discussions with family members to representing your company at a board meeting, most things in life require negotiation, at least to some extent. Many of these things will impact the quality of your life significantly, such as your responsibilities, salary, and benefits. Therefore, it is imperative that you learn how to negotiate effectively.
What You Need To Know About Negotiation
Simply put, negotiation is the process of settling a difference and reaching an agreement or compromise without getting into a dispute or argument. If a disagreement arises between individuals or groups of people, each party understandably aims to secure the best possible outcome for themselves (or their organization). Nevertheless, each side should adhere to principles of seeking mutual benefit, fairness, and maintaining the personal or professional relationship to achieve a successful outcome.
While specific forms of negotiation can be useful in many situations, such as domestic relationships, government, the legal system, international affairs, or industrial disputes, general negotiations principles can be utilized in a number of daily activities.
How to Negotiate Effectively – The Best Practices
Regardless of what you are negotiating, there are seven tenets that can position you strongly to negotiate about anything you want. Let’s take a quick look at them:
1. Research beforehand
If you want to negotiate successfully, you have to have background information. The more you know what you are negotiating in advance, the higher the likelihood of you negotiating successfully. Quoting knowledge or statistics will make your position stronger and enable you to make more calculated and reasonable demands.
2. Set goals
Determine what you want to achieve from negotiation before you enter into one. Also, always start off by asking for more than you have set your mind to, and then gradually let the back-and-forth discussion reach the goal that you have already decided to settle for. Goals provide the direction that you need in your negotiations, but they aren’t all that is needed for navigation.
3. Make a plan
Any negotiation can involve unforeseen obstacles, which is why you should have a plan to deal with them. Explore the various possibilities and problems that might occur, and have prepared responses to them. This helps mitigate the element of surprise and prevents you from making reactive, irrational, and impulsive decisions when faced with a challenge or objection. It is not possible to be 100% prepared for everything that might come your way, but having a plan is still helpful.
4. Exude confidence
Demonstrating confidence instantly puts you into a more powerful negotiating position. People will take your requests and claims seriously and present you with more attractive offers. While it requires practice and time to earn that confidence, you can feign it too. How can that be done? Dress smartly, maintain a positive body language (back straight, shoulders upright), and speak clearly, directly and firmly. Make eye contact and give firm handshakes. Don’t have fidgety body language or use filler words when talking. The more you can apply this, the better it is for you.
5. Adequate self-interest
While self-interest and greed should not dictate your life, a bit of both is needed to negotiate effectively. Yes, you should be a little flexible, but if you want to get what you want, you should not always be seeking a ‘win-win’ situation for everybody while negotiating. Instead of settling for a compromise, you should seek to secure the best possible deal for yourself. This helps you remain grounded to your goals, shows your determination, and makes you appear more confident. The result will be that you ill be able to be bolder in your requests and in a better position to get better deals for yourself.
6. Practice makes perfect
Get plenty of practice both on a broader and smaller scale because, as with anything else, it is going to sharpen your negotiation skills. For instance, practicing answers to some challenging questions in front of a mirror or with a friend before you go for an interview may help you ace the real situation. Practice will make you more confident and better able to avoid being awkward or unable to respond effectively. But, don’t over-practice either because you don’t want to seem unnatural or robotic either.
7. Objectivity is necessary, too
You may be aiming to get a subjective outcome (one that favors you), it is still worthwhile to apply an objective approach during negotiation. A successful negotiator walks into a negotiation having an objective encompassing every part of the process. Without this, having background information is useless because it is only fruitful if you can assess and treat it objectively. Some ways in which you can apply objectivity include knowing the statistics and figures for individuals who have negotiated in similar circumstances and being aware of the motivations and potential outcomes for both yourself and your negotiator.
Get Better at Negotiating, and Lead a Better Life
As expected, the more you negotiate, the better you will get at it. Apply these strategies, and you will get the results you want faster. Having an understanding of the negotiation process will equip you to lead a better life – one where you make more money, purchase things for less, and always be at the better end of the spectrum!
If you are a business owner or leader, you must know how to negotiate – in fact, that remains non-negotiable! There are plenty of situations where this skill may come in handy, such as dealing with suppliers and vendors, long-term clients and sales prospects, existing employees, and potential ones. So, master your negotiation skills and live life on your terms!
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