Negotiating is less about ‘winning’ and more about coming to the most favourable solution. Using these techniques, you can ensure you arrive at a conclusion you feel good about.
How useful would it be to be guaranteed to emerge from every negotiation victorious? Extremely, but it’s probably fair to say that’s a bit of a fantasy. That would involve having the indomitable upper hand in every interaction, right?
Except it’s actually not a fantasy – far from it. It’s just a matter of soft skills, so long as you are willing to see the shades of nuance involved in what actually constitutes success in a negotiation. It’s not actually about ‘winning’ an interaction, it’s about coming to the most favourable conclusion for everyone involved. Really, negotiation is about compromise, and if you apply the correct negotiation techniques you can ensure you always emerge from these kinds of conversations feeling happy about where you stand.
First off, it’s probably useful to ask yourself why you think you’ve failed in previous negotiations. According to research by Columbia Business School, people are often quite oblivious to how they actually come across to their colleagues during negotiations. It is likely that even when you think you’re being assertive, you actually aren’t, or at least aren’t being perceived as such.
It’s why listening is actually the most valuable tool in your arsenal during the negotiation process. Listening intently ensures that you properly understand where the person at the other end of the table is coming from – and the more you understand, the more likely you will be able to convince them on your point of view. Trying to preach to someone without truly understanding their position is, after all, a bit like playing darts in the dark.
Going into a negotiation without fully knowing what you actually want is also like playing darts in the dark. As such, you should try to rank what you want on a scale of low to high priority. As we said before, negotiations are about compromise, so it’s a good idea to enter into them already knowing the elements of the agreement you’re most and least willing to budge on.
For more top-class negotiation techniques, check out this handy infographic compiled by the people at Headway Capital.
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