Being a good negotiator can make a big difference in your career. It can help you earn more money (by negotiating a better starting salary or a raise), a higher title (by negotiating a promotion) or even budget money (to take on a prominent project).
How good are you at negotiating?
No matter what the topic for discussion, successfully negotiating to achieve your goals requires thought and practice. I’ve watched people go from being terrified of negotiating to loving it.
How? They changed their approach and started thinking about negotiating as: 1) a simple process to follow 2) a thoughtful interaction with other people, and, 3) a way to determine even better solutions.
Try these 10 tips and see if they help you improve your negotiating skills:
Do your homework
Research the topic and think through your options before you hold the discussion.
See the situation from all angles
Try to understand where the other person is coming from; try asking them to tell you about their needs and key concerns.
Clearly define your goals
Prior to the discussion, make sure you are clear on what you want as well as your "walk-away" point (the minimum outcome you're willing to accept).
Determine the best timing for the discussion
You"ll want enough time for the discussion and to hold it when all parties are relaxed and not emotional.
Remain calm and avoid getting emotional
The more emotional you become, the more clouded your thinking will be.
Listen, listen, and listen some more
Spend more time listening than talking during the discussion.
Ask for what you want
Don't be afraid to explain your needs and what you'd like to see occur as an outcome, but do so calmly and in a non-confrontational tone of voice.
Avoid finger pointing
Focus on the issues, not on personalities.
Find a creative solution
Think win/win, not that someone must walk away a winner and the other a loser. There's nothing wrong with working together to determine creative ways to meet the needs of both parties.
Remember that there will always be a tomorrow
If the discussion heads in a wrong direction and tempers flare, it's OK to recommend picking up the discussion on another day, after everyone has an opportunity to take a step back, relax and think.
Bonus: Being a good negotiator can also help you in your personal life, such as agreeing on bedtimes for the kids, which movie to see or which restaurant to eat at with your spouse.
Don't be afraid; start practicing your negotiating skills today!