Negotiation tips for people who don’t like negotiating

Let’s shake on it: Shifting the perception of negotiation from one of conflict to conversation, can deliver a win-win result for all parties, writes Barry Whelan

Often people shy away from negotiations through a fear that they will be seen as difficult or demanding. The key to success is to step away from that pessimistic attitude and view negotiations as an opportunity to develop solutions that will benefit everyone in the long-term, writes Barry Whelan



15 June 2018

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Negotiation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Most would prefer to leave negotiating to the buyers and account managers in the industry! However, once in a while, the need to negotiate comes to everyone. Whether it’s a pay increase you are after or a rise up the ranks, having some healthy negotiation skills can go a long way. Here are some tips on negotiating to help those who would prefer to avoid it become master negotiators.

Get past the idea that negotiation is conflict

If you think negotiating with another person feels like conflict, then you are not alone. This is without a doubt, one of the main reasons people avoid negotiations. Negotiation is often seen as a win-lose process; there is a fear that one side will win and the other will lose.

The key to successful negotiation that maintains long-term relationships is to negotiate with a win-win mindset. You need to shift your idea of negotiation from conflict to conversation. You will soon realise negotiation can be an opportunity to develop solutions and not a reason to be afraid.

Be positive

Embrace negotiation as a way of communicating your needs to get what you deserve. If you go into a negotiation doubting your worth, there’s a good chance you’re not going to get what you ask for. That’s why it’s important to be optimistic and take a positive view. Start from a positive position and believe you are going to succeed and then operate accordingly.

Use active listening skills

When you find yourself in the heat of negotiation, try to keep the process moving by asking open-ended questions that help you navigate towards a solution. Listen to the answer and then repeat the answer to the other party to make sure they know they are being heard.

Ask open-ended questions that help you steer a course away from conflict.

Ask for what you want

You need to get what you want on the table. Ask for what you want and even if the other side shoots it off the table, keep putting it back on. If the other side asks something different first, get your original ‘ask’ back on the table.

You are always negotiating

Remember that you are always negotiating during the negotiation. From the moment you sit down, your body language, eye contact, and word choice can have an effect on how the conversation is going to flow. Be confident and use facts. Always challenge first offers, even if it is better than you expected. If you don’t, the other party will feel they did not get a good deal and you will wonder if you did too.

Find and address interests

‘The position’ is what an individual wants or will ask for, but interests are ‘why’ they want it. If you go into a negotiation only willing to battle your position or get what you want, then you lose out on the opportunity to identify and address your interests. You also lose out on the opportunity to identify shared interests.

If you can find common ground with the person you’re negotiating with, it might be easier for them to understand, and possibly agree with, what you’re asking for. In fact, you might be surprised at how willing they are to listen (and negotiate) if you start with ‘why’.

Always connect concessions to what you want

This tip puts you in a position of power and helps you find a middle ground. Try to always say yes with an ‘if…’

For example, ‘I am willing to work additional time IF I am paid overtime for it’.

Learn to respectfully say no

When you’ve reached an impasse and it doesn’t appear that you’ll be able to walk away with dignity and/or mutual respect between the two parties if you continue, it’s time to stop. Perhaps plan a time to revisit the conversation or take a break and decide on a different approach to reach your goal.



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