Whether you're in a managerial position, a parent or teen, we have all had to negotiate at some point in our lives and there are some sure fire ways to negotiate your way to success which will have you doing the victory dance as you celebrate your achievements. Negotiating is a skill. Remember how we used to negotiate with adults when we were little? Some of these tactics helped us achieve so much as we were growing up! Never be deterred by someone's seeming unwillingness to negotiate at the beginning. With some careful handling, there are ways to negotiate which will mean you can achieve your goals.
One of the first steps to negotiate an agreement is to find common ground. If you preempt what the other person could be thinking about your proposals, then it will be easier for you to empathise and therefore see things from their point of view. You can then come up with a solution which could potentially please both parties. Remember to ask questions to learn about what the other side wants. If you know where each of you are coming from, it may be easier for you to find ways to negotiate.
Remember to always to stay positive in the face of negotiation. It isn't easy and the outcomes may not always be what you anticipate or desire. However, it's sometimes the ways in which we look at things which can affect our overall state of mind. For example, if you want a pay raise, consider all of the things you could gain rather than what you could lose through asking for a pay raise, such as being labelled a troublemaker or being overlooked for opportunities in the future. Reverse it and focus on all the things you could gain from the negotiation.
Fake it 'til you make it is one of the many mantras to live by and this is also key when negotiating. At the risk of making a grand sweeping generalisation, Brits are renowned for not wanting to haggle. We politely stand in queues and watch our Ps and Qs but sometimes lack the confidence to really go for it. Arming yourself with confidence can lead you places you only dreamed of and is also key when negotiating.
Non-verbal cues are something which can reveal a whole host of things about how the other person is feeling or what they're thinking and you can really use this to your advantage. For example, if you're trying to swap leave with a colleague and you can see their face soften with a smile, then they may be willing to swap if pushed a little harder. The clue is to read the cue!
Active listening involves taking time to think about what the other person is saying. Quite often when we're talking to someone, we're more concerned about what we're going to say next and ensuring that our voice is heard, rather than listening and understanding what the other person has actually said. Sometimes, hearing doesn't necessarily mean understanding. Repeat back what you think you have heard to the other person to check that you have truly understood. This will put you in control of situations and make you feel more confident to negotiate and come up with possible solutions.
Remember to stay calm and never lose your cool. I know, it's easier said than done and we're all human after all, but if a situation becomes unpleasant because you have become aggressive or demanding, it can damage relations. Make statements about the way you feel by using the personal pronoun 'I' rather than making accusatory comments which can sound aggressive. Also, try not be emotional or angry. If this is a challenge and you can feel things getting a little heated, step away from the situation to reflect. Remember not to take things personally too. Often it's not you who is being personally attacked but your position.
Setbacks and stalemates are sometimes inevitable and when neither party will budge it can be frustrating. Sometimes, taking a little more time to listen to their point of view may enable you to see things you may have overlooked, such as conflicts of interest and obstacles. If you're really struggling to reach an agreement, a few days of rest and reflection may help spark a few ideas.
Does anyone else have any hints and tips for successful negotiation and getting what you want in the work place and in life?
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