The Art of Negotiation

Negotiation is part and parcel of both our work and personal lives, be it for a better salary or clinching deals. But while some may have natural talent at getting a sense of the other party's stance, their emotions may still get the better of them. Others may require some help too. Regardless, here are some tips that will assist you in negotiating for the best end of the deal.


Know Exactly What You Want

Before entering any form of negotiation, take time to consider your needs and wants. Cover the bases first; secure the essential terms you need before your wants.

Also, think though your needs and wants: why you absolutely need these terms? This would help you determine how much you can afford to compromise and how much you are willing to compromise as well as negotiate for them. Have facts and research at hand to support your claims. On this note, it would be advisable to consider long term benefits on top of immediate gains too.

Be Realistic

Compare your goals that you are negotiating for to what the current market is offering. As much as possible, try to find out what your competitors are getting. If your products and/or service are on par, you are definitely undercut if the price offered doesn't match what they are getting.

Also, consider the amount of bargaining power you have. Are you the only source they could turn to? The greater monopoly power you have (in terms of both quality of your service/products as well as the number of competition), the greater your bargaining power.

Know your "Enemy"

As the Chinese saying goes: "Know your enemy so as to defeat him". Understand how the other party works. What are their goals and objectives? Are your requests undermining them? Remember, if they are talking to you, they are definitely looking at working with you. But first your requests have to be within reason.


Calm, Collected, Confident

Having prepared for the negotiation, you will have no cause for panic or anxiety. Walk into the negotiation venue calm, collected and confident. However, be careful not be end up "overconfident" or even arrogant. Instead, you should demonstrate an interest and optimism that an apt arrangement could be made. Remember, this is a negotiation not a fight; both parties are meeting for a collaboration and should want to work something out.

Ask Questions Strategically

Open-ended questions are the way to go – they engage the other party while buying you time to evaluate points and terms brought up during the meeting. Some questions include: Could you clarify what xxx and yyy mean exactly? What are your main concerns? How can we move forward?

Silence: a Powerful Tool

Silence and pauses could be a powerful tool in negotiations. Eager parties would often share more information or take the chance to emphasize their top wants – a nifty piece of information for you to make use of.

Lastly, your attitude is paramount in negotiations. Instead of seeking to exploit and "win" the negotiation, look for win-win situations with the other party. Having an amicable negotiation and working relationships could have long-lasting effects.

You might also like: How to Mingle and Make Small Talk, Email Etiquette, Resign with Grace

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