The art of negotiation is something that will help you in a variety of business related situations. Whether you are trying to close the deal, asking for a raise, or settling a personal dispute; these skills and techniques will help you along the way.
- Keep your cool. Before you enter into the situation make sure that your emotions are in check. You do not want to become adversarial and damage the relationship, or allow fear to make you give up too quickly. Wait until you have your emotions under control before you enter into the negotiation.
- Timing is everything. Don't try to get your long awaited raise when it is obvious that your boss is under stress or he/she is preoccupied with other things. Try to schedule an appointment early in the day when everyone is less tired. Likewise, if the appointment before you ends with a high degree of anger, you might suggest that reschedule your conversation.
- Be willing to cooperate rather than confront. Skillful negotiators realize that negotiation is really about finding solutions rather than winning a battle of wills. Looking for solutions that are mutually beneficial will help you avoid fights and help establish a positive working relationship.
- Clarify the issues. Be clear about the issue(s) that you will discuss. You do not want to get sidetracked by tangential issues or matters that do not concern the negotiation process. Make sure that you are in agreement about what matters will be discussed during the negotiation.
- Listen more, talk less. You may have a preconceived agenda going into the negotiation process. However, it is important that you respect the other party and truly listen to his or her needs. Through careful listening you may find new and creative solutions that were not immediately obvious before the negotiation.
- Respect the other person's perspective. Let him/her know that you really are listening to his/her point of view. A good way to do this is by rewording what they have told you in a sentence like "What I hear you saying is …." This may seem like a silly exercise, but it will communicate that you truly are trying to understand his or her position.
- Be willing to bend. You may have an optimal solution in mind when you enter the negotiation process. However, think through some alternative solutions ahead of time. These alternate solutions will give some acceptable fall-back positions and allow you to appear cooperative rather than confrontational.
Because different personalities are involved in every negotiation process, it is impossible to predict what the outcome will be. However, by entering the process with a cooperative and respectful attitude you will find creative solutions while maintaining positive business relationships.