Time for a negotiation

Every day of our lives involves some level of negotiation. It may be negotiating with our children, or trying to broker multimillion dollar deals with investors or clients, or a negotiation with the executive leadership team!

But most likely you have been or will be negotiating something this week. No matter which level of negotiation you are taking part in, there are a few things you can do to really improve your ability to sway things in your favour.

Focus on a satisfying outcome for everyone

Negotiation is not about taking as much as you can from the other party. You will be much more successful in discussions if you are aware of the other person’s interests and work to satisfying those as well as your own. If you can show that you are just as concerned with creating a good outcome for someone else as you are for yourself then a positive outcome is much more likely. It builds trust, and it helps you think of the broader picture.

Think long term

The broader picture is much more important than the single negotiation in isolation. We have a tendency to think increasingly shorter term, but it isn’t necessarily helpful in this instance. Scoring a ‘win’ today may do some damage in the long term and make it more difficult the next time you meet with this co-worker, supplier, client or friend. How many of us have had the experience of a customer that fights to the death for a lower price? How many of us no longer want to deal with that customer?

Trust and emotion

In business we are always seeking more objective ways to make decisions. Selecting people for a job, or a supplier, or assessing different strategic options – we look to make bare-bones assessments on what is best for the company. This attempt to remove emotion from the decision-making process is an acknowledgement of how much it can influence, for better and for worse. Thinking long term and aiming for win-win outcomes is a way to build trust. Trust is always garnered by proving your reliability, and it always improves your chances of succeeding at the next negotiation.

Be ready to change your position

There is a lot of disappointment coming to people who enter negotiations with only one possible outcome in their minds. Be prepared to offer alternative solutions to a problem. It is very easy, for example, to get bogged down in a discussion in price without considering different options of service level.

Overall, the ability to negotiate and influence those around us can have a big impact on our overall wellbeing and happiness. If you don’t develop negotiation skills then you may end up feeling a loss of control, that you don’t have a say in your working life. It is so important to be able to declare exactly what you want, to find out what those around you want, and to find mutually beneficial outcomes.

Eve Ash has created many new comedy business films: Negotiating for Results, Making Decisions, Planning and Organizing that can be used to kick off a training session on topics like negotiation, deciding and getting organised. Eve has also produced a wide range of video and book resources (www.7d-tv.com) on managing people and developing communication skills.

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