Ten Steps to Better Negotiation Success in Your Business and Personal Life

In a perfect world, negotiation would be unnecessary. If you have something that someone wants, and they have something that you want, then you'd just go and exchange them without all the hassle. Unfortunately, real life is rarely like that. Most of us go through some sort of negotiation on a daily basis. Whether it's getting your child to eat their vegetables in exchange for ice cream or getting that fortune 500 Company to hire you, knowing how to negotiate is imperative. Here are ten steps to help you.

negotiation_tec.jpgGuest Blog by John Gower
Image from www.theartofliving.com.au

In business, knowing how to negotiate is not only a great way to achieve peace of mind but also increase harmony among your team members while advancing your personal goals.

You should think of negotiation as discussions staged in competitive environments.

There are different elements that can be utilized some of which include persuasion, bargaining, and, most importantly, altering positions and assumptions.
In order to achieve success in negotiations, with your employer or team, incorporating the following techniques would ensure that you get what you want while also giving the desired results to the party you are negotiating with.

1. Assess Your Needs
The first step in negotiation is to determine what is the desired result of your negotiation. The best way to determine this is by asking yourself if there is a legitimate need or issue that needs to be addressed. In the event that this issue is left unaddressed, will it cause distress or create obstacles? If so, what are the possible solutions?

2. Assess The Other Party's Needs
Rarely does negotiation take on a 'winner takes all' attitude, but it is considered more of a give and take. What do you have to offer that would be useful to the party? What does the other party want in the negotiation? Make a formal list of what the other party needs along with what you need to see both sides side-by-side. You can make easier decisions by doing so.

3. Identify Which Areas Need Compromising
As stated above, compromise is the keyword when it comes to negotiation. Figure out what sort of compromises you are willing to make or what the other team members are willing to make. Along with compromising, you can assign roles depending on each person's skills. Who can handle the leadership roles? Who can take care of specific projects and assignments?

4. Determine Goals
When planning and negotiating, the end results are what everyone focuses on. What are the goals that you and the other party want to achieve by the end of the project or negotiation? Create a win-win situation to ensure everyone leaves with something they wanted out of the negotiation.

5. Time Your Discussions
While it is important to know what you want, it is even more important to know when to ask for it. Sometimes, it may be in your best interest to wait while at other times, delaying your discussions for a moment longer would be detrimental. Also, discussing differences in the beginning can prevent any conflicts in the team from happening.

6. Keep Your Ego Out Of It
Together, everyone achieves more, regardless of whom the credit goes to. The main purpose of negotiation is not to outshine the rest of your team, but to convince the other party that they are equals in the negotiation. Keep personal beliefs to yourself and be open-minded to the other party.

7. Listen
A good negotiator always lets the other side go first; that way they have a basis to begin their bargaining. Listen and ask questions, then give your point of view.

8. Stage The Discussion
Environment plays an important role in discussions. Keep it concise and straight to the point without being too formal. Most times, you will receive a number of reasons as to why your plans cannot be undertaken at this point in time. In the event that new issues are raised, stay focused on your original issues and set up a later meeting to address the new issues.

9. Follow The Action Plan
Even if you still don't have a deal in place by the time the meeting is over, it is important that you have some sort of confirmation before you walk out the door. You can have a little summary of all that has been discussed then do a follow up. Stick to the plan and make sure that you keep your main focus on the important issues. Failing to meet or achieve your goals may complicate things and lead to concerns over your ability to deliver.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Every team you're assigned to allows you the possibility of honing your negotiation and creativity skills. Think of negotiation as an exploration of your position as well as the other members' in your team. Being able to develop this vital skill to negotiate successfully can bring you and your team members' endless win-win outcomes.

Further reading:

Getting to Yes
You Can Negotiate Anything
Difficult Conversations

About John Gower

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you save money with tips on everything from psychology to understanding section 529 college savings plans.

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