Four tips for better negotiation

Every negotiation is different. A few simple tactics will improve your negotiating skills whatever the circumstances.

Do you find negotiation difficult? Believe it or not, you’re doing it every day. And you can learn the skills to make you better at it. Here are my key tips for getting great results from your negotiations.

Lose the fear of losing

Perhaps you’re concerned about facing a hostile person. Or worried you won’t get your point across well. Many people see negotiation as a win-lose kind of deal. And nobody likes losing.

Changing your perspective will really help. Negotiation won’t succeed unless everyone around the table agrees. Looking at it this way, you’re working together to solve a problem. Think of negotiation as a chance to collaborate. You’re more likely to get a deal that works for everyone.

Listen more, talk less

Don’t be so focussed on what you’re saying that you forget to listen. Negotiation is a two-way street. In fact, it’s often better to listen more than you talk. You’ll understand the other position better. Also, we tend to like and trust people who listen to us. People will be more inclined to listen to you if you’re listening to them. Better listening results in better negotiations.

Get body language savvy

Much of what we say is unspoken. Become an expert at recognising the visual cues we give away with our body language. Look at people’s posture, facial expressions and hand movements. You may have to be quick to spot the signs, but they are there if you know what to look for.  

Keep your bottom line in mind

What is the very least you’ll accept from the negotiation? This is your bottom line. For example, it’s the lowest offer you’d take if you were selling your house.

Keep quiet about your bottom line if you can. You’ll probably be trying to negotiate for much more. Having a bottom line simply helps you recognise when negotiation is no longer in your best interests. Walk away before making a deal that won’t work out for you.  

It’s crucial you think through the consequences of sticking to your bottom line. What happens if negotiation fails? What are the alternatives? Planning ahead increases your chances of success.

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