"I am trying to improve my negotiating skills for both myself and for my company. I find it uncomfortable when I get into a place where I have to negotiate for either myself or my company; I feel I lack skills and may not be doing either justice. How do I become a better negotiator?"
My years of experience and study have taught me that there are many ways to negotiate, depending on with whom and what is the purpose of the negotiation. Your success will include all of the thoughts below but is not limited to just these; I hope it helps!
The best negotiators that I know always have one thought in mind when approaching a negotiation; they want both themselves and the other party to come away feeling satisfied with the end result. They think of the process as collaboration rather than “us against them.”
Her are a few tips;
What is your goal? What is the end result that you want to accomplish?
What does the other party want? Spend time thinking like the other side and determine what they might want.
What are you willing to give up? It is rare for negotiators to end up with everything they wanted, so be prepared with what you are willing to offer as a concession, just don’t make the offer too soon during the process.
Are you demanding or listening? Spend most of your time asking open-ended questions to see if you can determine what the other side wants or what may be stumbling blocks for them to reach a satisfactory result.
Do you have any leverage? By leverage I mean something that may cause the other side to unwillingly accept your offer. If you do have leverage, use it very judiciously. Playing the leverage “card” may feel like a threat rather than a subtle persuasion to the other side; producing negative results.
When is it best to walk away? You need to know that a bad negotiation can have far reaching negative results for either or both parties. There are times when it is best to terminate the negotiation process entirely and pursue other means, or at least postpone them long enough to rethink the value proposition and alternative methods to achieve your goal.
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