Have you ever been in situations where you felt strongly about something, such as a project, and how it should be done? Does it annoy you when other people involved in the project fail to see the situation like you do? This is where you can benefit from having good negotiation skills.
It doesn't matter what line of work you're in. You'll often find yourself in situations where you have to negotiate. Learning how to negotiate is crucial not just for your career but for your personal relationships.
Be prepared – If you're not familiar with a certain topic just yet, don't get into an in-depth discussion about it.
However, when you know you'll be talking about a project at a pre-determined time, make sure you get yourself educated about the project and the current situation. If you're to be successful in negotiation, you need to be prepared.
Develop better listening skills - Listen to what others have to say.
We've been in situations before where we rushed in and insisted on what we wanted. In the end, though, we found that what we wanted was very similar to what another person wanted. The problem was that we weren't being a good listener.
Find points where you and the other person agree – If you're lucky, you and the other person will have just two or three small points where you don't agree.
It's a good idea to jot down things both of you are in agreement with and another list both of you are not in agreement with. Doing this will give you a good idea of just how much negotiating is needed. And it can also be a good basis for a plan of action when approaching them.
Keep in mind that both of you are on the same side — even if it isn't obvious – Both of you want the issue resolved, don't you? Thus, when you focus on finding common grounds, it will help you come up with the best solution.
Discuss what's at hand - First things first. Don't talk about solutions until you and the other person are on the same page as to what the issue is.
Both of you need to see the problem the same way. Otherwise, you won't be able to effectively find solutions.
Check your emotions at the door – It's all business. You need to be objective all throughout and not be emotional. Remain cool and composed no matter what.
Don't be a jerk and resort to intimidation, manipulation, and snide comments. You're only going to lose your credibility at the negotiating table if you resort to these underhanded methods just so you could get what you want. The other person will simply stop listening, so it’s really a lose-lose.
Have integrity – If you're discussing an aspect of the problem or a solution proposed by the other person and you suddenly have the realization that you've been misunderstanding the whole thing all along, don't be afraid to say so. Be honest and respect the other party.
Solicit ideas – Ask the other person for ways the situation can be resolved. Be a good listener and have the willingness to actually put into action some (if not all) of the suggestions.
Share your ideas – Don't be shy in stating your ideas. If you believe your way is the best way to go, then make your case.
For instance, you could say, "Instead of following-up with new customers in person once a week, I think we'll benefit more from doing that on a monthly basis and follow up with them by phone during the off-weeks."
Then further explain it by saying something like, "If we do it this way, we can use the off-weeks to find new customers. We can effectively widen our customer base and at the same time keep in touch with current customers.
Show that you're flexible – You can't always have your way 100% of the time, so don't expect to win every discussion.
If you've got goals you want to achieve and achieving those goals involve working with others, learn how to negotiate effectively because that's the best and smartest way you can get what you want. Be a good listener, check your emotions out the door, find common ground, be willing to share your ideas, and be flexible when you're dealing with others. The harmony created will lead you down a path to success.
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