In business, we are nearly always negotiating. It could be something as simple as establishing office procedures and business goals, or as crucial as setting policy terms and coverage levels. Here are eight tips to help you become your best negotiator:
- Before you start negotiating, identify exactly what you hope to get out of the process. You must have a goal before negotiating.
- Once you have your outcome in mind, do your research. Are your terms realistic? If so, can you prove it with facts, figures or other evidence? Keep this information on hand during the negotiation process.
- Set the scene for a friendly discussion. Sitting across from each other – especially when one person is behind a desk – creates a hostile, combative mood. Sitting next to or diagonal from someone signifies that you’re on the same side, and negotiating will be more pleasant.
- Talk less and listen more. Pay close attention to what the other party is asking for or what facts he or she brings to the table. Be open to his or her proposition and try to understand if there is any emotional impact at stake for him or her.
- When you do talk, avoid using accusatory language like, “you need to” or “you have to.” Instead, focus on yourself with “I need” or “I want” statements.
- Keep a close eye on body language – both yours and the other party’s. Does he or she seem nervous? Do your own posture and facial expressions make you seem confident?
- Whenever the other party has reached a pause during the negotiation, recap the conversation and confirm any agreements to ensure you’re both on the same page. This tactic also shows the other party you’re listening to what he or she is saying, which should help you close the deal.
- Finally, expect a positive outcome throughout the negotiation process. Even if you don’t get the exact deal you hoped for, this negotiation could positively affect your relationship with the other party.