Negotiation is an art that can be learned and developed. From scoring better deals at the grocery store to helping your child gain admission into their first choice school, negotiating can bring numerous benefits that enhance all aspects of life.
Successful negotiations require preparation, research and understanding your own position and needs. Being flexible while knowing when it is best to walk away are also integral parts of successful negotiation.
1. Know Your Value
Realizing your value means feeling equal with everyone you interact with – from clients and coworkers, to your family and friends. It requires maintaining positive self-esteem while asserting yourself as an equal in all professional and personal relationships.
Realism also means having realistic expectations of negotiations and understanding your negotiating power. Your goals must be clear, while conducting thorough market and industry studies as well as researching your own interests as well as those of the other party. Dunlap suggests using websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale but suggests going deeper: having conversations with previous bosses and people working in your field to establish what their value propositions are and where potential compromise lies.
By gathering all this data, it will enable you to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound negotiation goals. Furthermore, it will assist in being prepared to walk away when necessary – as negotiation is an ongoing process and needs practice and the willingness to push beyond comfort zones.
2. Look for Common Ground
Many individuals enter negotiations with an “my way or the highway” mentality. Such an attitude rarely leads to any type of agreement that works well for both sides, much less a lasting one.
Instead, be prepared to identify and explore areas of common ground. Doing this requires research on the subject at hand as well as identification of your own interests and needs – this allows you to use this data to formulate mutually beneficial proposals that reflect reality.
At any level of negotiation – from professional service providers to everyday people looking for the best car deal – these steps are critical in managing conflicts and disagreements, including in personal relationships like when resolving disagreements between children or spouses, for instance. Furthermore, the principles outlined here can be applied in any conflict resolution situation from house rules negotiations to brokering peace in the Middle East – including adaptability, improvisational skills and social awareness concepts.
3. Be Flexible
Gaining what you desire in any negotiation requires tradeoffs, compromise and flexibility. Learn to approach negotiations from a place of mutual respect and acquire the tools to reach win-win solutions with all parties involved.
Flexibility is key when it comes to negotiations – be they at the grocery store, school admissions or business negotiations. Adaptability should always be your goal when approaching negotiations of any kind – be they grocery store deals, school enrollment decisions or even professional deals.
If you want to negotiate a flexible work schedule with your employer, for instance, it’s essential to become acquainted with their policies on this matter and be willing to offer possible compromises as part of any negotiations process. Doing this shows your willingness to meet them halfway if necessary and could ultimately secure you that desired position.
4. Know When to Walk Away
Negotiation is more than simply about finding a higher salary or job offer; it is about understanding all parties involved and working toward meeting all needs and interests. Negotiating is an invaluable skill and should be practiced regularly: when buying or renting property, car purchases, trash collection services or anything else in life requiring negotiation, learning how to do so is invaluable.
One of the key aspects of negotiation is knowing when it is appropriate to walk away from a deal, which is why having a “walk-away number” set in mind can help keep negotiations moving forward in an effective manner.
Limit your emotions during negotiations by considering the bigger picture and your long-term goals. Focusing solely on winning every negotiation will only lead to frustration and stress – instead focus on closing more high-quality deals each year which will yield benefits over time.