In our sometimes cut-throat, highly competitive society, having good negotiation skills is necessary. We’ve identified 12 tips to an all-win negotiation. We’ll discuss the first 6 here so check back in a few days for the final 6 steps to winning a negotiation. We’ve included some tips from Dale Carnegie to ensure a pain-free, positive negotiation process.
Remember, negotiating means that you are attempting to agree on a solution. Compromising, or settling on a mutually agreeable solution, is the result of successful negotiations. Compromise is all about being flexible. It means being able to generate alternate solutions when you’ve “hit the wall.” Whether it involves a person you can’t get along with, an idea you know will work but that others are reluctant to embrace, a change in office systems, or a turf war that needs ending, learning to negotiate and compromise is essential to your success.
Have A New Attitude
Your attitude is essential to the outcome in a negotiation. Going into a negotiation with a negative attitude is one of the surest ways to achieve a loss. If you are already expecting a negative reaction prior to a negotiation, take a second and think about the effect your attitude will have on others involved in the negotiation. A negative attitude chain reaction is the last thing you want.
Approach the negotiation as an opportunity to learn and achieve an all-win outcome and you will improve your chance of achieving a mutually rewarding solution.
Can You Meet Me Halfway?
Being selfish in a negotiation is yet another way to ensure a loss. Of course, it is important to maintain your competitive edge, but being overly competitive and unwilling to compromise on any aspect in a negotiation can lead to a negative outcome.
Meet on mutual ground. Find a mutually agreeable and convenient physical space to meet that is comfortable for all involved. Agree on when you will meet and how much time is available to devote to the process. Whenever possible, deal with negotiations face-to-face. Be careful about negotiating over the phone or in e-mail. A lack of facial expressions, vocal intonation, and other cues can result in a negotiation breakdown.
What’s Your Issue?
Going into a negotiation without truly understanding the issues at hand can create a confusing, never-ending negotiation.
Agree on a statement of the issue using simple and factual terms. If the situation is multifaceted, search for ways to split the large issue into smaller pieces and deal with one issue at a time.
Do Your Homework Kids
One of the worst things you can do is to go into a negotiation blindly, without any knowledge of the issues from every perspective.
Take time to plan. You must not only know what is at stake for yourself, but you need to know the other side’s concerns and motivation. Take into consideration any history or past situations that might affect the negotiations. Know the must-haves (non-negotiable items) and nice-to-haves (negotiable items). Determine the best resolution, a fair and reasonable compromise, and a minimally acceptable deal.
Let’s Be Honest
Are you a good communicator? Do you possess qualities that could hinder the negotiation process? Are you unsure of your communication or personality flaws?
Take an honest inventory of yourself. Determine your level of trust in the other person and the process. Be conscious of aspects of your personality that can help or hinder the process.
We Have Something In Common
Being unable to see things from the point of view of the others involved in the negotiation can frustrate the negotiation process.
Look for shared interests. Get on the same side by finding and establishing similarities. Since conflict tends to magnify perceived differences and minimize similarities, look for common goals, objectives, or even gripes that can illustrate that you are in this together. Focus on the future, talk about what needs to be done, and tackle the problem jointly.