How Can You Become a Better Negotiator

How Can You Become a Better Negotiator
I was recently asked to participate in an interview with Career Builder about negotiation skills in the workplace. The interview focused on any negotiation that takes place and included salaries, vacations, time off and etc. The article was published and the link is below. I also included Three Key Points for a Successful Negotiation that I think you would all find helpful:
Three Key Points for a Successful Negotiation:

Be Prepared – Do your homework up front – The negotiation will be won or lost prior to the engagement so do as much homework prior to help ensure success. So it is imperative that you gain clarity of a list of things you know about your needs and those of the other person…It is often difficult to gather insights from the “other side” but the more you can glean and clarify what a “win” means for the both of you the more you can understand where there is alignment Vs differences…this will in turn help you plan and succeed in the negotiation. …some areas of focus include:
Define “a win” – It is imperative to clearly define what an ultimate “overarching win” is for you AND the other person… As an example if you secure a new job and are negotiating salary, it is important for you to know how low you will go to accept the job, and now how high they are willing to pay – if you know this you can identify were the “common ground” or alignment can ultimately be found.
Define Shopping Lists– A shopping list includes multiple things to secure “a win” both you and the other person want to ultimately achieve so identify and clarify essentials and desirables.
Essentials include what you both must achieve – worst case scenario
Desirables include what you both would like to achieve – best case scenario
Define Variables – A variable is something that can be conceded during the negotiation which in some way alters the proposition being discussed…it represents what you and the other person are willing to give up…these are the things you give and take (“I you give me X then I will trade you Y”)
Define Alignment – Identify the common ground for the “win-win” so during the actual negotiation you are viewed as taking the initiative of showing good will of working towards a common goal
Persuade in the Negotiation – I like to look at the negotiation as an opportunity to persuade another person to ultimately accepting your points. If you’ve done your homework and clearly know where the alignment is you can always work towards that goal in a persuasive manner…sticking to the overarching objective of a win-win, securing your shopping lists and giving and taking on variables. Letting them clearly know when you’ve given some thing of value yet, being grateful when they have as well.
Be in the moment, listen and show empathy – When you are totally in the moment, listening and communicating, you can get the other person talking which in turn allows hear more and know what “next moves” you’d like to make (i.e. if you sense fear then help eliminate the fears or leverage it as an opportunity). In addition, chances are that you didn’t get the total picture of their needs in the “homework” phase, so know is the time to hone in what they view as an ultimate win so you can work towards that goal.
Aim High – Remember this is a negotiation and you will have “give and take” so start at an aggressive point so you have plenty of room to maneuver…in addition you can be assured that the other person will be taking an aggressive stance and aiming high too.
Working the variables and concessions – Use those variables and concessions to work your way toward the aligned “win-win” stance…it’s OK to keep giving the concessions until you’ve reached your “what a win looks like” area…an you keep working them until they reached theirs – don’t be giving if they aren’t giving…know the zone of the “win-win.”
Close – Always seek “win-win” but don’t be afraid to walk away – I’m not saying get angry, or negative and closing the door for good, but know when you’ve exhausted options and need to step away…you may need to walk for awhile before they come back….most often than not, if you’ve done your homework up front, and negotiated in good faith during the process, then it is not yet over…it ends when you or they have dipped below what is perceived as the “win-win” point. There are indeed “win-lose” scenarios…but that is not to the benefit of either of you in the long term.
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