Negotiating seems to rank up there with public speaking and death in terms of what people want to do. The fact is that we’re negotiating almost every day of our life whether it be where we want to go for lunch or what date a project will be completed on. Obviously this blog isn’t meant to turn you into a master negotiator (there are books for that) nor is it meant to have you haggling at your local supermarket like it’s a Turkish Bazaar. However, if you’re going to do something on a daily basis, you might as well be good at it.
- Determine what you want and what you’ll settle for. Determine what the other person wants and what they’ll settle for. Determine where your interests intersect – your goal lies between that point and what you want.
- Start with a smile and a flexible attitude. The best negotiations are not confrontational but are geared towards both people getting a version of what they want.
- Listen to what the other person says, ask open-ended questions and don’t be afraid of silence. At all times you should be respectful and polite.
- Open with what you want and allow them to counter. If they open first, counter with your opening. If you’re unsure of how to open try, “I guess we’re at the point where we negotiate.” Don’t forget to smile.
- Continue to make counter-offers until both sides reach a consensus. Keep it positive and focused – this is not an argument. If you find yourself getting emotional you should excuse yourself for a moment to collect yourself.
- When the negotiations approach what you’ll settle for, prepare a solid case why this is your absolute bottom-line. Under no circumstances should you issue a threat, veiled or otherwise.
- If you’re at your bottom-line and an agreement hasn’t been reached, expand the discussion to include alternatives (non-monetary compensation, additional help, moving another due date, etc.)
- If all else fails, you may have to agree to disagree and walk away.
- Practice, practice, practice.