Negotiation lies at the heart of business success. Whether you’re an employee looking to move up the management chain, or about to launch your own enterprise, without strong negotiation skills you won’t get far. If you prioritise one business ability this year, make it negotiation. These are our tips for improving this essential skill in 2019.
Don’t take it personally
Effective negotiation means being able to engage and disagree when you’re in the room and then walk out and have a drink together afterwards. The way people behave in negotiations can vary but is rarely personal – to be more effective, avoid getting caught up in the disputes that can arise when people take things personally.
Negotiation is as much about listening as it is about speaking. If you take a step back and allow the other person to speak you’ll be able to understand what they want. This is the fastest way to resolve a dispute and is essential information if you’re looking to agree an outcome that benefits everyone.
Balance assertive and aggressive
Assertiveness is essential in negotiations – it’s a way of setting your boundaries, standing your ground and being clear about what it is that you want from a specific situation. Aggression tends to be the opposite. In a negotiation situation aggression often arises as a result of anxiety or fear and it tends to reveal weaknesses and reduce leverage. It’s essential to learn how to ask for what you want calmly and to say no without fear.
Information is power in a negotiation situation. From lots of statistics to business history or current assets and interests, the more information that you can gather on the people you’re dealing with the better position you will be in. It always pays to do your research before a negotiation so that you have a sound understanding of where the other party is coming from.
Aim for a mutually beneficial outcome
Wiping the floor with your opponent is more appropriate to a boxing ring than to the negotiation table. The most successful negotiators know that delivering an outcome that pleases everyone is the best option because it preserves ongoing relationships. So, take the time to understand what the other party wants and then show them how those needs will be met.
If you’re in a hurry to get to an outcome then you’re instantly at a disadvantage. Patience can be an incredibly powerful tool in negotiation so use it well.
Walk away if you have to
It’s essential to let go of the idea that you have to make a deal, any deal – this can result in a less than favourable outcome. Give yourself a benchmark, below which you’re willing to walk away. Before you go into a negotiation make sure you have this clear in your mind and identify your other options so that you don’t end up being forced into a situation you’re not happy with.
The art of negotiation is a powerful skill set to have – and one that can take you a long way in life.
Book your place on our Negotiation Skills Course today or get in touch with PTP on 01509 889632 for more information.