How to hold your own in any negotiation

I realized early on in my career that I valued time with my family, and myself, as highly as I did a good wage. This attitude has proven useful, as it provides a bargaining chip that means little to the employer but everything to me. If the position is particularly interesting, I am willing to be flexible on money provided the hours are flexible to match.

When heading into any negotiation, be it with a family member, a spouse, a coworker or an employer, it helps to know the difference between what you ‘need’ to get out of the situation, and what you ‘want’ to happen. Needs are non-negotiable, wants is where you can show compromise.

Negotiations are intimidating, but with a bit of preparation and forethought, any negotiation can be rewarding for both parties. To help you on your way to becoming a good negotiator, here are a few simple tips to remember.

Plan Ahead

Plan your execution and know what you want to say, how you want to say it, and when. Think about what the other person wants, and how you can address it without compromising your goals.

Here are eight tips on how to get the best possible result from any negotiation.

  1. Be clear about what you are offering and what you need from the negotiation.
  2. Be consistent with how you present your case, your expectations.
  3. The old adage  “Under promise, Over deliver”  is true: don’t promise anything that you aren’t sure if you can pull off.
  4. Be a good listener. State your case, and let them state theirs. Negotiation is a back and forth process.
  5. Set guidelines for how decisions made will be implemented and ensure both parties stick to them.
  6. Ask questions and find out as much information as you can. This is your chance to get specifics and make sure you write everything down. Anything that is decided should be in writing.
  7. Keep emotion out of your negotiation and stick to the plan. Don’t take it personally if it doesn’t go your way. You will always live to negotiate another day!
  8. Take a deep breath, prepare yourself and meet the negotiation head on: being confident is half the battle won.

Get Creative

Get ready to think on your feet. The other party may have an idea you have never considered before. Identify beforehand where you can be flexible and roll with the punches. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask for time to think if something really left-of-center gets thrown in the ring.

Be Perceptive

Be aware of the body language and tone of voice of both yourself and the other person. Are they receiving your ideas well? Ask them questions to keep them engaged and on the conversation path of your choosing. Be aware of your own body language and make sure you aren’t ‘closing down’ the conversation by crossing your arms or appearing distracted. Keep your stature as open and as clear as your voice.

Learn to Compromise

Be prepared for compromise. Consider your expectations beforehand and decide what is a ‘need’ and what is a ‘want’. If you are flexible with your wants, you are more likely to get the things you need. Go into any negotiation with a win-win attitude, the other party is there for the same reason you are and it is possible to come to solutions everyone is happy with. 

Foster the Relationship

A negotiation is also a chance to foster your rapport with a future boss, coworker or client. Keep in mind that you will need to deal with these people at some point in future so always work towards long-term mutual benefit rather than just instant gratification.

Honesty is Key

Be HONEST! There’s no point telling a lie about your abilities or experience, it’s just so easy to get caught out and losing your integrity can be fatal for your job, and potentially your career. Being an open and honest communicator builds trust and trust builds great business relationships.