How To Be A Successful Negotiator?

How To Be A Successful Negotiator?

When we hear the term negotiation, a big and official boardroom comes to mind

However, whether you realize it or not, we are negotiating all the time in our everyday lives.

We negotiate with our kids, our spouses, our friends and co-workers.

Every time you are trying to convince someone of something, you are actually negotiating.

Negotiation is an art.

You can master the art of negotiating by learning the basic principles, tactics and other applicable aspects.

Let’s explore if we can learn how to be a successful negotiator?

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Basic Negotiating Principles

“You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.” ~J. Paul Getty

The successful negotiator knows the following:

  • negotiation is a continuing life process
  • to always keep an open mind
  • to balance all parties needs
  • to quickly establish mutual goals and interests
  • not to try to persuade other party that their views are wrong
  • to present creative alternatives that will meet other party’s needs
  • cooperation leads to mutual problem solving
  • competition stimulates both sides to more efficient agreements
  • manipulation of people is a poor tactic
  • to reach goal while keeping the big picture in mind

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What Is A Negotiation Climate?

“The most critical thing in a negotiation is to get inside your opponent’s head and figure out what he really wants.” ~Jacob Lew

A negotiation climate describes the environment of the negotiations.

If you create a defensive climate – other site will respond defensively.

If you create a supportive climate – other site will respond supportively.

It is up to you which climate you want to conduct your negotiations in.

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Planning For A Negotiation

“Know what you want to achieve prior to starting to negotiate. It’s the golden rule but the one most people fail to heed. Without a plan, you allow the opposing party to define your goals instead of the other way around.” ~ Ivanka Trump

  • The quality of the agreement is directly proportionate to the quality of the preparation
  • Involve everyone in the preparation – obtain their commitment
  • Prepare from your perspective – then from the other side’s perspective
planning and preparation for negotiations
The quality of the agreement is directly proportionate to the quality of the preparation.

#1 Basic Planning

– examine previous deals and data

– develop your targets (your “bottom line”)

– informal conferences (break the ice with the other party)

#2 Planning The Agenda

– keep the agenda negotiable

– exchange agendas (it gives both parties an idea of what the other side wants to discuss)

– evaluate the other side’s agenda (try to determine why did they put issues in the order that they did)

– if you cannot agree on an agenda – try rotating their issues with yours

– do not adopt someone else’s agenda – you lose the initiative

#3 Planning The Position

– position – the view one takes on an issue

– learn to test positions

  • ask the other side directly how strong they feel and why
  • get someone else to ask them
  • release trial balloons – test reactions – make a quick withdrawal if it is negative
  • change your position to see how the other side reacts

– the art is in determining real position (bottom lines) from “smokescreen” positions

#4 Planning Checklist

You can use the below planning checklist to make sure that you are fully prepared:

  • Who are we negotiating with? Who has authority to agree to terms?
  • Who will negotiate for us?
  • What is the subject matter?
  • What facts or data do we have? What facts does the other side have?
  • What assumptions are we using? What assumptions is the other side using?
  • What position is the other side likely to take?
  • What objectives do we have? What objectives does the other side have?
  • Why are our positions different? (different values, experiences, objectives)
  • Where will we be negotiating? Are the conditions suitable?
  • When are we scheduled to negotiate? How many sessions will we need?
  • How will we negotiate? Strategy? Tactics?
  • How do we anticipate the other side will negotiate?

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Effective Communicating During Negations

“One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them.”  ~ Dean Rusk

Effective communication plays a crucial role during negotiations.

1. Barriers to effective negotiations

should be aware of the communication barriers to effective negotiations.

  • selective listening (hearing instead or actively listening and trying to understand what is being said)
  • hidden assumptions (explore the basis of yours and others assumptions
  • loaded words – be aware of emotionally loaded words

2. Non-verbal Communication

Learn to recognize gesture clusters and emotions behind them:

  • Protective gestures – ankles crossed, hands clasped in lap, body turned sideways, arms folded tightly across chest
  • Doubt – touching a finger to the nose
  • Confidence – steepling the hands and fingers, standing with hands gripping lapels
  • Consideration/Evaluation – hand or finger held to side of face
  • Impatience – tugging at ear, putting finger to throat
  • Frustration – running hand through hair
  • Boredom – crossed legs and body pointing to the door
  • Anger – standing, leaning toward you, hand spread on the table
  • Nervous – hands tightly clenched
  • Indifference – legs draped over arm of chair
  • Acceptance – leaning forward towards you

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Negotiation Tactics

“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” ~Harvey Robbins

A tactic is a technique used to influence negotiations to favor your position.

Below are the most common tactics used to influence others in traditional negotiations:

Hiding Your Position

  • Why? so the other party cannot determine your targets and negotiating range
  • How? High ball or low ball offers, level of activity, number of team members, number of spokespersons’

Inflating Your Position

  • Highlighting or exaggerating a position
  • Strategic manipulation of data

Using Your “Time” Wisely

  • Not revealing your deadline across the table (prevents the other negotiator from using it against you)
  • Principles of timing

– let the negotiations mature

– people want to feel that they have worked hard to achieve their objective

– offering to compromise on a key issue after two days of negotiating is more powerful than after 15 minutes

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Typical Dirty Tricks

“So much of life is a negotiation – so even if you’re not in business, you have opportunities to practice all around you.” ~Kevin O’Leary

To be a successful negotiator you should stay away from dirty tricks. But also, you should be aware of them so that you know when they are played on you.

  • more powerful
  • won’t budge
  • phoney facts
  • ambiguous authority
  • dubious intentions
  • personal attacks
  • good guy/bad guy
  • threats
  • escalating demands
  • calculated delays

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Final Points To Remember

“The best move you can make in negotiation is to think of an incentive the other person hasn’t even thought of – and then meet it.” ~ Eli Broad

  • Planning and preparation are the key to success
  • Look for a win/win solution
  • Focus on the relationship
  • Develop a supportive negotiating climate
  • Communicate, Explore, Listen, Question
  • Problem solve for success
  • Find solutions meeting both parties needs
  • Stick to your principles

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How To Be A Successful Negotiator?

“No problem is so deep that it cannot be overcome, given the will of all parties, through discussion and negotiation rather than force and violence.” ~Nelson Mandela

As you can see, becoming a successful negotiator is not hard or complicated.

Preparation is the key and keeping in mind the above points will ensure you next negotiation will be a successful one.

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