Basics Of Negotiation
Negotiation is defined as a discussion that is aimed at reaching an agreement. It is used to settle differences and reach a compromise without argument or dispute. People will aim to get the best deal for them when coming to an agreement. However, the idea of good negotiation is to find mutual benefit in order to maintain a relationship between the parties involved.
A lot of people dread negotiating with others. What they don’t realize is that they are negotiating all the time, even daily. Formal negotiations happen when discussing terms of a job offer with a recruiter or buying a new car. Informal negotiations are more common and occur when determining who gets to pick the movie for date night, working out a conflict between coworkers, or convincing a client to take a late delivery.
Whether we like it or not, we are negotiating all the time. Learning the basics of negotiation can help us to be better able to come to an agreement faster and with better results for both parties.
It take two to tango, or to negotiate. If either you or the other party feels they are not getting something out of the deal they can walk away. You may be the best option but if they don’t feel they are getting what they need they are not likely to accept your offer and may even leave negotiations. Remember that while you have a back up plan or BANTA so does the other side. Doing your research and preparing before going into any negotiation will help you to come out ahead and happy.
Prepare before you go into the negotiation.
Know what it is that you are trying to accomplish. You need to know what success looks like, otherwise you’ll never attain it. Ask yourself what is the minimum you’d be will to accept. Prepare your BANTA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) and be willing to go with it if you can’t get what you want out of negotiations.
Understand your opponent.
Learn about the person or people you with whom you will be negotiating, especially their negotiating power. Make sure you are working with people who have the authority to approve a deal that gives you what you want. Talk with others who have negotiated with the them in the past to get ideas on what works and doesn’t work. Find out their strengths and weaknesses so that you can take advantage of your strengths and their weaknesses. Decipher any patterns or styles of negotiation they use so that you can turn that against them.
Make a plan ahead of time.
You want to know where your line is drawn and where you will not cross, you don’t want to decide that while in the negotiation. The first offer sets the benchmark so be aggressive and ask for more than you want to give room for compromise. There is give and take in all negotiations, know where you are willing and unwilling to compromise. Have a few concessions ready at hand that do not reduce your position. Know your walk away point, when the negotiation hits a stand still your willingness to talk away will pressure the other party to accept your terms.
Aim for both parties to get something out of the deal.
This is called a Win-Win scenario because both sides come away with something they want. It’s important that both sides feel they got something out of the deal, especially if it is an ongoing relationship. Even if it is a one-off negotiation a win-lose strategy will come back to haunt you either through reputation or if you ever interact with them again. The whole point of negotiation is for both sides to come away with some value.
Be patient, don’t negotiate with yourself.
If you make an offer first then wait on the other person to make a counter offer. Prematurely making a second, lesser offer is a sign of weakness that will be exploited. Make sure you get a counter offer before making any concessions on your original offer. Not making a credible offer may lead the other side to ignore your offer ending the negotiations early.
Know when to keep your mouth shut.
Silence can be your greatest ally, don’t make the mistake of continuing to talk after you’ve succeeded in getting what you want. The best negotiators do more listening than they do talking. Talking too much is not about finding an acceptable compromise but about proving a point. Be careful what you say, especially early on, as once you’ve said something you can’t retract it.
Understand how to deal with various hardcore negotiation tactics/styles.
Large requests or demands but little to no concessions. This most common tactic protects the deal maker at the cost of the negotiation process. To deal with this know your goals and what you are willing to give and where you will walk away.
All-or-nothing strategy. They make an offer but state that it is not negotiable. Ignore the offer and instead focus on the content and make a counter offer that addresses the needs of both sides.
Pushing to a breaking point. They will keep asking for more and more until you reach a breaking point and concede. Call them out on this tactic and state that you will not continue unless they agree to a back-and-forth exchange of offers.
Ad hominem. This is a logical fallacy of attacking the person instead of the idea or argument. Take a break if needed to collect yourself then tell them that you will not tolerate childish attempts to ruffle your feathers.
John C. Maxwell
The 14th quality of a team player is Self Improvement. “To improve the team, improve yourself.” This is the first time I’ve read a book that says put down the book and pick up your phone. Of course this was written before the advent of smart phones so Maxwell was making a point that the manufacturer of most phones back when this book was written was Nokia. In 2019 Samsung produced the most phones in the world. He goes on to talk about how Nokia started as a small pulp mill in the 1860’s. However, the company didn’t stay in the wood business long and sought to grow and improve itself. In the 1990’s the company’s CEO decided to focus on the area of greatest potential, communication and drop the other areas. Maxwell goes on to talk about how people tend to look for quick fixes to problems rather than long term solutions. This strategy causes them to stop moving forward once the pressure is no longer there. He states that people who are constantly improving themselves by making preparation, contemplation, and application an ongoing cycle in their lives. He gives three ways to become self-improving: become highly teachable, plan your progress, value self-improvement more than self-promotion.
Tricks of the Trade
Don’t negotiate things that aren’t negotiable.