Getting what you want out of a negotiation is difficult at the best of times. Of course, there are negotiation training websites and other free resources available. However, in order to master the basics of negotiation you need to cultivate these five deceptively simple but absolutely vital skills.
It seems obvious, but time and time again negotiations will fail simply if the two parties involved do not get along with one another. Even something as simple as smiling can have a hugely positive effect on the person you are communicating with.
Keep your cool when a negotiating partner is pushing your buttons. This is vital to ensuring a successful outcome. If you remain calm throughout a negotiation, regardless of what happens, you will gain an edge. And your competitor will have fewer opportunities to pressure you into an unfavorable situation.
While one might think that lies and deceit are sometimes necessary in order to accomplish a successful negotiation, the reverse is often true. Not showing all of your cards at once is certainly wise. However, by being honest, you will earn your counterpart’s trust. And you will be more likely to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
Negotiations are not just about getting what you want. They must be a win for both parties or no agreement can be reached. Also, it costs nothing to ask questions about your counterpart’s aims. Not only will you learn more about them, but also you will indicate that you care about their goals.
The more information you have going into a negotiation the better. So learn to pick up on everything from body language to tone of voice to whatever situation your counterpart might be in. This will give you a better understanding of whether this is the right time to negotiate. It will also give you cues as to who holds the balance of power.
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How Is a Negotiation Like a Game of Poker?
Take this example: Let’s say you are looking to make an offer on a house. The salesperson explains how other prospective buyers are making offers, but they hesitate at the start of the sentence. They also look away and touch their hair. Given these cues, you can probably assume they are bluffing.
On the other hand, if you’ve just moved into the country, are currently renting, or otherwise desperately need to purchase a house and the salesman says the same thing, you’d be better off making a higher offer. That’s because you’re in no position to call the salesperson’s bluff!
Think of any negotiation like a game of poker.
You need to understand the following considerations:
- What you have and what your opponent has
- What you think your opponent has and what your opponent thinks you have
Does this sound confusing? It can appear to be at first. However, once you understand these basic concepts of any negotiation—and apply the suggestions in this post to them—you will find that negotiations of any kind become a far more relaxed affair.
Where to Find Resources for Negotiating
If you are struggling with negotiations of any kind there are online resources which can help. For example, The Negotiation Society has more than 20,000 members around the globe. This organization offers articles, videos, and other tools to aid you in building your negotiation skills. These skills will save you time and money in the future.
So bookmark this article. And remember that if you’re friendly, polite, honest, and above all perceptive, you are immeasurably more likely to succeed in negotiations of all kinds.