In the workplace, the ability to negotiate is a vital skill. It defines success and failure in everything from haggling for favourable supplier terms and closing deals with clients to resolving legal disputes, especially with employees.
Top tips for more successful negotiations
1. Avoid stereotypes
Negotiating isn't about warring parties with a winner and a loser at the end; it requires collaboration, consensus and partnership.
2. Avoid taking entrenched positions
Particularly where you're only prepared to make minor concessions. An adversarial (hard) negotiating stance is inefficient, unsustainable and can be damaging to working relationships.
3. Understand others' perceptions and emotions
- You may not agree with them but you should at least know what they are; don't make assumptions about what is important to others; remember that fear, anger and anxiety can have a huge influence on negotiations.
4. Communicate clearly
Avoid using language which implies there are winners and losers; show empathy; and listen carefully to what's said or you may miss important cues.
5. Seek a win/win outcome
It's both possible and desirable.
6. Explore all options
If there's a deadlock, focus on interests rather than positions. Mutual interests can form the basis of your agreement.
7. Use clear & objective reasoning to reach an agreement
By using objective criteria you can ensure that you deliver consistent, principled, amicable agreements. This improves the quality of decisions, ensures consistency, and delivers lasting agreements. Avoid stereotyping or giving in to pressure.
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