A good portion of any business person’s time involves negotiation. There are always objectives that need to be accomplished and invariably other companies and people will contribute to the success of these efforts. Arriving at an agreement that allows success for both parties is the goal of negotiation. Open communication will support this effort. Each party understanding the other’s concerns will allow a positive agreement to be reached. The following tips will support success in negotiations:
- Know what you want – Be sure to document what it is you want to achieve through the negotiation. It’s also a good practice to know what you want as well as what you’ll accept.
- Anticipate what the other party wants – Knowing what is important to the other party will enable formulation of offerings in advance.
- Understand the goal of negotiation – Every negotiation starts with two parties wanting something from the other. The purpose for negotiation is to reach common ground.
- Be prepared to walk away – Entering a negotiation without being prepared to leave the table is an acceptance of failure at the outset. Always be ready to accept the fact that there is no common ground.
- Don’t give without getting – Never make a concession without gaining a concession from the other party. Every agreement should be contingent on an agreement from the other side.
- Listen – Negotiating success is largely predicated on understanding the other party’s position. Listening will not only allow understanding of what the other party wants but also give indications of opportunities.
- Aim High – Always start from the scenario that is the most advantageous for you. Ask for what you want – not what you’ll settle for.
- Take nothing personally – Negotiations should always be based on achieving the best possible circumstances for both parties. Allowing the other party’s behavior to influence the outcome is counter-productive at best.