We negotiate every day of our lives with the people around us whether we know it or not. Not all negotiations are formal undertakings and can seem quite ordinary by nature. For example, you might make a deal with a neighbor to water your lawn while you’re away in exchange for helping to paint their fence at a later date. Or you might give up a coveted shift at work in exchange for a co-worker helping you with a research project. These activities might not seem like negotiations but in fact, they required you to negotiate for what you wanted and help those you were negotiating with, get what they wanted too.
Preparing for a Successful Negotiation
Being clear about what you want to accomplish is an important first step heading into a negotiation. Taking the time to review your needs and wants beforehand will help you present your ideas clearly and articulately. If you map out the information you need to cover in a negotiation you will increase both your effectiveness and efficiency as a negotiator.
Some people think that they are natural negotiators so they don’t need to prepare for these kinds of meetings. Experience teaches us that nothing could be further from the truth. Before any upcoming negotiations, book strategy calls with members of your team that may be present during the negotiation. During these calls, identify key issues, draw up meeting agendas, and select which team members will speak on key points.
Listen and Ask Questions
The best negotiations are when both sides believe they have given up something and are also getting something that they want at the end of a negotiation. It’s important to pose pertinent questions to the people you are negotiating with. Are there some things they want out of the negotiation but have not been mentioned? Don’t assume you know everything they want out prior to the negotiation. Chances are there are some key points you may be unaware of that are top of mind to the other side. Asking questions then being a good listener can help you gather important information that may be very helpful to you to know during the negotiation phase. Remember, if you want to be a good negotiator learn to be a good listener.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada