Negotiation is a fundamental skill and something we do all the time in life, sometimes unconsciously. Even more crucial to negotiate well when you want a pay rise. The key to successful negotiation, regardless of what is at stake is navigating the other person’s emotions. So our old friends active listening, empathy, rapport, behavioral change, mirroring energy….all come in useful here.
- Don’t be afraid to admit and be explicit about what you want. Too often people feel it’s too aggressive or too forward to state in simple terms what they want.
- Don’t do all the talking in a negotiation. Ensure it’s a dialogue. Use open ended questions and listen to the answers, regardless of how different they are to the ideal answers you have in your head. Listening and observing as you listen are vital – this keeps you in the moment as opposed to formulating your next statement.
- Don’t say I love this car and then ask for a discount when they can see you’re already emotionally attached. Instead try “I really like this car but it’s out of my budget. What help are you able to offer?’
Things to Try…
- Be assertive, not aggressive or passive. Remember that assertiveness equals acknowledging and respecting other people’s rights and feelings whilst maintaining your own.
- Know your audience – do your research and homework, then formulate a plan and moderate your behaviour accordingly. Try to tune into their frequency rather than doing what you always do. actors always place their focus on their acting partner in a scene as whatever I do or say next depends on whatever you do or say now. So what are their needs, hopes, fears?
- Acknowledge any emotion in the room – “I’m hearing that this means a lot to you” or “I see this puts you in a difficult position” type statements go a long way to furthering rapport and building mutual trust during a negotiation.
- Express what you want in terms of the other person’s needs. eg. rather than say “I want X amount” try ” If I have salary X that will enable me to commit fully to the new project”
- Have a plan B up your sleeve. Have your ideal outcome in mind and also a scenario that you could live with. This makes getting the ideal “plan A” less desperate, less of an all or nothing mission.
- Do be prepared to walk away from the negotiation if any deal doesn’t fall between your parameters of acceptability
Be Open and Sincere…
Aim to be open and sincere and never aim to rip anyone off – such gung ho, short-termism is poor negotiation which may come back to haunt you. Remember that building a potentially fruitful long term relationship is far more valuable than getting a one-off good deal.
Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.
Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication