Whether you’re closing deals, hiring staff or just generally not a big negotiator, here are some tips to make 2017, the year of better negotiating. Negotiation often makes people uncomfortable or nervous because it’s a form of confrontation and involves rejection. While it can be unnerving for some, it’s a necessity whether you are applying for a new job, hiring or just running a business. However, with the right preparation, you can make it a lot easier on yourself.
Know that it’s not personal.
Walk in to each negotiation or conversation with the intent to take the high road on this one. While some negotiations can get emotional, even angry–know that negotiations are not and should not be personal. If you go into it knowing this, you will set yourself up to keep a calm and rational mood, to set the example.
Understand the relationship.
Take some time to nurture the relationship with the other person. Feel out their state of mind, their preconceived notions or attitude. The best negotiations happen when there’s mutual respect so make sure to establish that. Get to a place where you both can treat each other like human beings and not necessarily a cold business encounter.
Find the win-win.
If you approach a negotiation as there must be one winner and one loser, you will not succeed. It’s possible to negotiate in a way so that you both end up getting something that you want. Remember to take a step back and really consider the bigger picture, it’s not about going into battle and coming out a victor. Negotiate but also listen and understand–figure out a way to end up on the same side.
Sometimes the back and forth is all that matters.
This may surprise you, but sometimes the negotiation may just be about the back and forth. If you’re pushing for a deal, in the end you just want to feel like you got one. If you’re selling or holding the power, you want to feel like you were in the driver’s seat and established some kind of authority. Even if one party doesn’t get what they set out for, the back and forth may have been just enough. Sometimes it’s the effort or the challenge that just needs to happen to make everyone feel satisfied.
Know your priorities.
Some of the best advice heading into a negotiation is just a little preparation. Get crystal clear on your priorities and asks, know how they rank–what you’re willing to give up under certain conditions and at what point you are willing to simply walk away. Knowing your terms inside and out will give you the foundation to be prepared whichever way the negotiation goes. You’ll know how to respond either way.