Negotiation For Beginners- Simple & Effective Negotiating Skills
Negotiation is not only an effective management skill-it is also a key life skill. Whether you are trying to secure a pay rise from your boss, or negotiating with your children over what constitutes bedtime, by utilizing effective negotiating skills you will be in a far better position to achieve your goals.
The dictionary definition of “negotiate” is “to confer with others in order to reach a compromise or agreement”. Negotiating is about resolving situations where there is some kind of conflict with the other party. By negotiating you are aiming to find a solution that is amenable to everyone involved in the process.
Depending on the circumstances you are attempting to resolve, there are many different styles of negotiation you can use. For example, you are probably more likely to want to maintain goodwill with your boss if you are negotiating for a pay rise than you would be if you were trying to fix bedtime with your kids.
“Hardball” negotiating can be used when goodwill is not an issue and there is no benefit to maintaining a good working relationship. Buying a house is a good example of a situation where it is appropriate to play hardball. Most people are not bothered about being “nice”-which is why it can often be a very unpleasant and stressful experience. Divorce is another good example. Most good divorce lawyers are highly skilled at “hardball” tactics, which is why their services are very much in demand by jilted wives who are seeking a hefty divorce settlement.
At the other end of the scale, many business deals can be a complex game of give and take. When there is a great deal at stake, it is more appropriate to take a softly-softly approach where you take the time to fully understand every facet of the issues involved. By adopting a non-combative approach, you are far more likely to reach an agreement that is mutually satisfying to all parties.
Successful negotiating is about finding a mutual compromise and there are many ways you can achieve this. Before you enter negotiation, it is very important that you are adequately prepared and you are clear about all your objectives.
In any negotiation, there are going to be some objectives that are more important than others. Your job is to decide which objectives are the deal-breakers and therefore important to you, and which ones you are prepared to make compromises over. It is also worth considering what the minimum is that you are prepared to accept in order to feel like you have achieved a “win” at the negotiation table.
Make sure you spend enough time analyzing your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. If you armed with all the background, you are in a stronger position to establish common ground as well as the cracks in their arguments. It is also worth noting that they are likely to do the same to you.
Minor negotiating can usually take place via telephone or email. Written correspondence is useful for keeping a record of each stage in the process. It also gives both parties time to think about their next move instead of responding too hastily. However, delay is a problem and important issues can sometimes be overlooked. Telephone negotiations are a quicker method of resolving disputes, but if you are not the one making the call, it can feel like you have been put “on the spot” with no chance to prepare.
Face to face meetings are the best opportunity to negotiate, but negotiation style is critical and you must not allow your emotions to play a part in the process-it is imperative you stay calm and maintain focus on the end goal. Any negotiation that ends in a screaming match benefits nobody and any display of inappropriate emotion will simply undermine the rational arguments you are trying to make. An emotional response can also be seen as manipulative.
By carefully exploring each position around the table, all parties should hopefully be able to come to a mutually acceptable compromise that gives everybody what they are looking for. If all sides are happy with the eventual outcome, then the negotiation can be considered a win-win situation.
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