Negotiation is not about being forceful or bluffing your way through talks, and it’s definitely not about winning or losing. Negotiation is all about striking the best possible deal between parties without short-changing any party involved in the transaction. However, many negotiators disregard the goals of the process and allow their emotions to take hold of them. This could crash a productive or profitable deal. To avoid such mishaps, here are some strategies to follow that will help you become a better negotiator:
Start by making a list of meeting goals and items that ought to be discussed. Now make a list of all possible outcomes and try and build up a case for achieving the best result. Make a Plan B just in case the conversation does not go your way. Ferret out your opposite number’s weaknesses and try and capitalize on them as you go about making your plan. Planning for a negotiation is like planning to argue a case in the courts – the only difference is that negotiations are friendlier.
Once your plan is ready, you should have the following in hand:
This exercise will help you prepare for the negotiation and ensure that the discussion is results-oriented.
Kill Your Ego
The ego makes you do or say things in a way that pleases you and makes you feel powerful. It incites you to tower above everyone else. It makes you a selfish beast and if you allow your ego to rule you at the negotiating table, you may end up killing the deal and alienating people. Leave your ego at home or elsewhere and be neutral while negotiating and you will see the difference. Remember, the negotiation is not about “I,” it’s about “We.”
Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, but voice them in an affable or jovial manner. Don’t get aggressive or raise your voice while discussing your problems and try and engineer a solution with feedback from the others.
Positive body language helps. Use your eyes and expressions to your best advantage. Sit upright with elbows on the table, don’t lean back, don’t grimace, don’t shake your head or fold your arms across your chest, make direct eye contact, pay attention, smile and nod when required, etc. Body language says a lot about you and your attitude, and you must draw attention of others with positive body language and expressions.
If the negotiators do not reach an understanding, do not panic or appear anxious. It may be possible that the other party needs some more time to chew over your proposal. Leave the door open for future meetings and sound sincere about it.
Analyze what went wrong and what worked during the meeting. Build up on your strengths and correct your weaknesses and get ready for the next meeting.
These tips should help you get the basics right. How you take it from here is entirely up to you. Good luck.