Differences of opinion bring many benefits to the world of business. After all, if everyone liked and enjoyed the same things then the world would be a very boring place. There are, however, some disadvantages to diversity because people think differently, behave differently, and have different objectives. In regards to business, meetings, sales, and virtually every point of contact between humans, negotiation is crucial for all parties involved to ensure positive outcomes.
The art of negotiation is a skill which can certainly be learned; it is a skill to which everyone should devote both time and energy. At the end of the day, every deal you or your company strikes will come down to your negotiating skills- you want to ensure that you and your team know exactly what to do and have a clear, defined strategy.
The following concepts can be put into practice daily, and over time as your confidence grows, you should be able to negotiate better deals on a daily basis. Once mastered, these skills can be used in every walk of life, even outside the office.
1. Understand The Person You Are Dealing With
Whenever you begin the process of negotiation with anyone, it is essential that you try to gain some type of understanding of that person. Are they trustworthy? Do they have the authority to follow through on any agreements or promises they make? Do they appear to have integrity and honesty?
Some of those questions will take a few meetings to answer, and that’s okay. Indeed you may never understand someone fully, but part of the skill of negotiation is becoming a good judge of character.
The same applies on your end of the deal. It is important that you inspire confidence and earn the trust of the people with whom you are negotiating. Once that trust has been earned, and barriers are broken down, the negotiation process becomes much easier and hopefully more beneficial for both parties.
2. Positive Over Negative, Everyone Needs To Win
Whenever it comes to negotiation, the reality is that both sides are trying to secure the best deal possible. If you have a hidden agenda, a genuine dislike for your opposition, or are trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes, it will be blatantly obvious to everyone else at the meeting.
You may think you are hiding your true feelings, but hidden feelings are generally anything but. You will usually achieve greater success by being positive and genuine, provided you can deliver on those promises. If you break your promises or demonstrate a lack of integrity, then the chances of a long-term, mutually successful partnership will be destroyed instantly.
On the other hand, if you accept and embrace the fact that everyone needs to benefit from the negotiation, and actively pursue a positive outcome for everyone involved, your success rate will rocket. This outlook is the perfect way to lay the foundation for a profitable outcome for all parties.
3. Never Underestimate The Power Of Silence
One of the best tools in your armory when it comes to negotiation is to listen. If you sit back and actively listen to what is being said, you will gain a much better understanding of people’s positions, and then you can use that to your advantage. People are always keen to talk and put forward their point of view, but those who listen are often the only ones to fully grasp all the different nuances taking place inside the meeting.
Learn more about the power of silence through active listening.
4. Avoid The Use Of ‘I’
Negotiations have a tendency to become full of egos, and it is all too easy to fall culprit to this by using one of the smallest words in the dictionary. The minute you start using “I,” you come across as egotistical, and you can sound like a spoilt child. “I want this” or “I need that” are aggressive statements, and if anything can stiffen the opposing party. Compare this with the less inflammatory word “we,” and you end up with statements such as “we really need to close this deal today.” This might seem like a small change, but it removes the personal aspect and negates individual egos from the discussion.
The importance of negotiation to a successful business cannot be underestimated. By following some or all of the above rules, you will start to find your negotiations becoming much more positive and beneficial.