Six Steps To Develop Negotiation Skills
Negotiation skills take plenty of practice, like any other skill, but if you work at it, it can benefit your life both at work and at home.
Step 1 – Analyse your position and define what you hope to achieve with the negotiations. Gather as much information as you can. Learn about the other side and what they hope to achieve, as well their strengths and weaknesses. The more you know beforehand, the better prepared you will be when the negotiations start.
Step 2 – Eliminate personal feelings. It can be easy to let your ego get in the way during negotiations, or to become agitated or upset when things don’t go your way. Learn to squelch both tendencies. Keep a polite and professional demeanor at all times while negotiating, and concentrate on the results you want rather than worrying about who gets credit for it in the end.
Step 3 – Be prepared to compromise. The more area for play you have when negotiations begin, the better you will be able to maneuver. Concessions are often necessary and you should be ready to accept them going in. In return, you have a right to expect reasonable compromise from the other side as well.
Step 4 – Stick to your guns. While a certain amount of compromise is necessary, be aware of places where you cannot and should not budge, and be ready to defend them. This applies to overarching principles as well as specific details. Know what you’re willing to fight for and don’t let the need to strike a deal allow you to compromise them.
Step 5 – Listen carefully to the other party. Part of this arises from a need to understand his position and help find common ground, but it can also be advantageous to you. Watch for signs of vulnerability, look for body language or hand gestures that may suggest his true emotional state, and listen very clearly for possible points of common ground. Encourage him to talk without compromising your ability to state your own case. As the old saying goes, whoever mentions numbers first, loses.
Step 6 – Confirm and ratify any agreement you make. Put it in writing, spell out all the details and have everyone sign it. Make sure it’s legally binding (if necessary) by getting it notarized and/or having a lawyer look at it. Confirming the agreement prevents misunderstandings later and ensures that the condition of the agreement will be enacted.
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