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Negotiating Like A Pro: Things To Keep In Mind While Making Critical Business Dealings

A leader who has mastered the art of negotiation holds a great source of empowerment in their hand.

There is no escaping from negotiations. In every sphere of our lives, at every step of the way, we are negotiating. Be it at the workplace: creating partnerships, defining deadlines, conducting recruitments, layoffs or team discussions; or at home: parenting, managing relations, finances or any of the million other things. Ranging from the major to mundane, the list is never-ending. 

Power dynamics are intrinsic, even implicit, to every act of negotiation. Hence, a leader who has mastered the art of negotiation holds a great source of empowerment in their hand. Conversely, a badly negotiated situation can quickly turn oppressive for the party at the lower end of the benefactor-beneficiary binary. 

In fact, the ability to negotiate well can impact one’s life and career. Persuasion, therefore, isn’t just for business leaders to practice, it’s a must-have skill that every individual should seek to inculcate to navigate their path to success. By virtue of being a good negotiator, one can increase their business dealings and make a successful endeavour. No wonder then that negotiation skills in business communication are some of the most assessed and in-demand skills in the modern business landscape. 

However, when it comes to negotiation, most are not very good at estimating their abilities. A recent Salary.com survey of 2,000 corporate professionals found that most of the respondents did not negotiate due to fear or lack of skills. It was found that 48 per cent are always apprehensive when it comes to salary negotiations and 18 per cent never negotiate their salary. 

Negotiations aren’t always easy, with several emotions like distrust, respect, etc, coming in the way and resulting in poor representation. According to Forbes, “Decisions are influenced by our memory of past event experiences and the feelings that we had during those events. Emotion, then, sneaks in ever so subtly. It influences the entire cognitive milieu of the decision-making process.” 

So how does one become a good negotiator? The best negotiator is not a powerful personality who only talks big. Rather, they are someone who is armed with information, who has facts and figures at their fingertips and who makes assertions that are backed by research. Negotiation often translates into maintaining a balance between the science of keeping focused on the ultimate goal of reaching a positive agreement and the art of dealing with people with varying degrees of ego. 

The following, then, are some of the central points that one needs to keep in their mind to proceed towards a wining negotiation in difficult situations and circumstances: 

Goal

A goal gives foundational direction to the course of negotiations. As per the definition, negotiation involves two (or more) parties, and therefore, it is about two or more desired outcomes. One should always aspire to negotiate with more than one goal on the table. More than presenting the options, how they are positioned is what makes a successful closure.  

Emphasize collaboration 

Any negotiation should start with a tone that is positive, confident, and genuine. Negotiations should be highlighted by collaborations and cooperation. They should not be guarded and secretive.  The attitude and approach should convey a desire to be open, understanding, and accepting towards other perspectives and points of view. 

Empathy 

Empathy requires an understanding of the other party’s stand in the negotiation, including what they expect and seek. Being empathetic allows one to understand others’ challenges and expectations. Simply put, it is helpful to learn to balance assertiveness with empathy by looking for common ground rather than areas of conflict. 

Aspire for value creation

To achieve a win-win outcome through negotiation, the two parties involved must strive to achieve a balance between value creation and value claim. Discovering value takes time and requires significant engagement. One must remember that meeting half-way is a compromise, and compromise is not win-win. 

The biggest barrier to win-win is the presumption that the other party wants the same as you. Therefore, thorough background research of other parties’ expectations can add immense value to the enterprise at hand. Not every circumstance is a win-win negotiation; paradoxically, it requires a simultaneous concern for self and the other, which ultimately leads to collaboration and cooperation. 

Tackle issues with data 

Negotiation issues can be easily tackled with data and facts. People are more likely to be convinced if facts, instead of opinions, are discussed and arguments are backed by with data. This demonstrates the joint value and the results are mutually beneficial.

Armed with the best strategies and the greatest insight into the negotiation practices, one can excel in the art of negotiating. By learning how to balance claims with proof and focusing on walking the talk that talking big, one can consistently walk away with the better end of the deal.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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