Think back to all the times you used simple negotiation strategies. Maybe you tried to negotiate a later curfew with your parents in high school, or even attempted to talk your way out of a parking ticket. Whatever the scenario, you’ve probably been negotiating to gain leverage at work, in school or with your spouse for most of your life. Unfortunately, without the proper skill set and strategy, chances are most of your negotiations fell flat. Whether you’re trying to negotiate your salary or simply convince your spouse to rethink Saturday night’s dinner plans, here are a few successful strategies to improve your negotiating skills.
The Classic Cop Routine
The key to successful negotiation, whether at home or in the boardroom, often depends on considering the other person. For instance, you probably know that yelling isn’t the best way to get a spouse to do the dishes, and complaining to your coworkers probably won’t lighten your workload. Before beginning any formal talks, get to know the other individual. Does he seem the sort to respond to tough tactics, or would taking a softer approach be more appropriate? When in doubt just remember the old adage about catching more flies with honey.
Insert Joke Here …
Negotiations are often tense, so instead of feeding into the mood by remaining sober or too business-like, try injecting some humor into the conversation. For instance, make a relatable joke about the situation or about the trials and tribulations of traffic, the weather or some other universal subject. Not only does this lighten the mood, it also helps you connect on a more personal level. Telling an innocuous joke is acceptable; however, don’t get too personal or retell a raunchy story you heard during last Saturday’s poker game. What you find funny someone else might consider offensive.
No matter if you’re buying a new house or trying to land a prospective client, negotiating is all about who has the fabled “upper hand.” The minute you fear any loss of power, don’t throw your arms up and walk away from the table. There’s an art to this, so don’t stomp away in a huff or tell the individual the deal is off. Simply say you’d love to do business, but the terms don’t suit your needs. As you turn to walk away, look back and give a final “thank you.” Don’t be surprised when the other party stops you immediately and offers to give you exactly what you wanted from the start.
A Good Trade-Off
You might find the centuries-old practice of bartering too outdated for the complexities of modern relationships, but there’s another way to view this time-honored concept. When it comes to relationships, both personal and business, “barter” is just another word for “compromise” in many instances. Knowing when to give in a little for the sake of the deal is always wise, but it’s just as important to know when to quit and allow the person to give a little.
The Art of Written Communication
Ideally, all negotiations would occur face-to-face and end with a handshake. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, meaning you must understand how to negotiate effectively online, either through chat or email. If negotiating over chat, treat the session like you would a formal meeting. Dress appropriately, come prepared and know when to walk away from the table. If the client wants to negotiate through email remember to compose your correspondence thoughtfully and proofread every sentence. Email negotiations are becoming more commonplace and aside from the process feeling impersonal, the biggest downfall of interacting online is your inability to read the other person’s body language. A telling smile or rolling eyes often speak volumes, so remember to always be straightforward in your correspondence and clear up any miscommunications immediately.
Far and away, one of the best ways to become a top-notch negotiator is through education. The skills gained through a masters in negotiation degree program will prove invaluable, both in the workplace and even at home. If you’re ready to take the corporate world by storm, or at the very least win an argument with your spouse, learn about the opportunities available through online education.
About the Author: Julie Haskum is a guest blogger and recent college graduate. Julie is currently applying to several graduate schools including Creighton University online.
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