How to Negotiate Successfully

The mere mention of the word “negotiation” is often enough to send people into a quivering mass of anxiety.  Negotiation, however, can be quite fun – not to mention profitable.  In this economy, whether for business or personal benefit, it pays to be a successful negotiator.  Here’s how:

Step One – Become Comfortable With the Concept

Once you’re truly comfortable with negotiation, you’re better able to think outside of the box and to be creative with possibilities and solutions.  Removing fear and discomfort helps you look at all sides, not just what you have to offer but what your potential partner has to offer as well.

Step Two – Be Prepared

Decide in advance, what you want to walk away with and try to determine what the other party wants to walk away with.  It is likely that somewhere there can be an overlap or a give and take. Successful negotiation happens when you know exactly what is important and what you can live without – it’s an opportunity to collaborate and build a mutually beneficial relationship. 

It’s also important to know what you’re going to do if the two of you are unable to come to an agreement. 

Step Three – Listen

Listening really is the key to a successful negotiation.  Rather than heading into it with a combative stance, be ready and willing to listen to what the other party needs.  There may be some points that you were unaware of.  If the other party can tell that you’re really taking their concerns to heart, they may be more willing to work with you.

Step Four – Practice

Your mom was right, practice does make perfect.  Practice negotiating and you’ll not only become more comfortable with it, you’ll get better.  Consider every communication you’re involved in as a mini negotiation.  Evaluate what you want to get out of it, what your partner wants to get out of it, and how you’ll both come to a mutual agreement. 

Negotiating can be a powerfully positive experience for everyone involved. When you look at it as collaboration rather than a competition, it becomes an enjoyable experience.  There really are win-win situations out there just waiting for you.

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