What is the definition of negotiation? According to CollinsDictionary.com, a negotiation is “a formal discussion between people who have different aims or intentions during which they try to reach an agreement.” That doesn’t sound daunting or difficult, does it?
But, what happens if we avoid negotiations, like the plague? Then we don’t get what we need nor want.
The good news is, negotiating is a learned skill, and it can be improved. With more knowledge and more practice, you, too, can become a master negotiator who reaps many rewards. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to get the kids to take out the trash, have your significant other take you to dinner and get the raise you more than deserve, all on the same day?
The fact is, while it sounds unlikely that we would win all three in the same day, in some capacity or another, we really are negotiating all day long at work and at home. As they say, “practice makes perfect.” Work on these tips and practice these skills to see positive outcomes.
Tips for Successful Negotiations
1) Go for the Win-Win. Doesn’t someone always lose? Not necessarily. If you want to have some form of long-term relationship of some sort with this person or company, then the desired outcome is for both of you to walk away happy, content or satisfied.
2) Be Professional. Do not let the process be dictated or managed or pitched by emotions. Keep it even keel and professional. Stay honest and open minded.
3) Be Prepared Enough. Know
a. What you need, not necessarily what you want,
b. Your value to the company, organization, partnership, etc.,
c. The desired expected outcome (maybe a #1 and a #2), and
d. Possible compromises. Here are some possible questions to consider a compromise.
– What are the important aspects of the deal to the other person?
– What does the other person want out of the deal?
– Are they flexible or firm?
4) Ask Probing, Open-Ended Questions. This allows you to get a good idea of their stance on the topic.
a. What are your thoughts?
b. Where do you see this working?
Win/Win may sound cliché, but win/lose may not be a good long-term solution. The objective is to have an outcome that services both party’s needs. Whether at work or at home, we need to work with people to achieve the outcomes we want. Therefore, having the ability to influence, persuade and negotiate with others is a lifelong skill that you ought to be working on continuously. Really think about every negotiation you have in the coming days, use the tips above. Through repetition of your practice, you’ll see better and better results.