If perfected, the art of negotiation will bring significant benefits in the workplace and help to achieve optimum results. It's a skill that will improve and develop the output of micro and macro projects, help with coming to proposal and budget agreements with prospective clients, and provide confidence when requesting a pay rise.
Entering a negotiation can be intimidating, but the ability to negotiate successfully is increasingly sought after by employers seeking employees. People who’ve learned and perfected the skills to secure clients and deals, are becoming ever more valuable to businesses.
Here are five top tips to help you adapt and execute key skills to maximize your chances of success: 1. Pre-negotiation preparation
Before entering any negotiation, first and foremost you must plan and prepare. Spend time trying to understand the opposing side’s objectives and arguments. This will enable you to build better counter-arguments, thereby moving you closer to your objectives.
The key to pre-negotiation preparation is understanding the opposing party, their professional market, and the individuals and characters you are up against. One of the biggest downfalls in business is getting comfortable with clients and vendors. Although it’s healthy to maintain positive working relationships, if you are going to win over the opposing side, it’s important to stay on top of their industries as well as your own, thus entering the negotiation on a level playing field. In short, preparation and research beforehand, are imperative to giving yourself an immediate advantage over the opposition. 2. Non-monetary assets
During negotiations, money will not always be the deciding factor or end result. There are many non-monetary incentives on offer that employees and businesses may seek, like time off, additional work training and flexible working hours. Many amateur negotiators make the mistake of entering into money talks too early, opening themselves up to contentious negotiations, when they could be achieving better results by focusing on non-monetary assets.
To help you successfully achieve and secure non-monetary assets and benefits in the workplace, industry experts The Gap Partnership
recommend practicing negotiation beforehand. Role-play, where a member of your team plays the opposing side and poses counter-arguments, can be an extremely beneficial exercise. It will allow you to prepare for situations and scenarios that may arise. 3. Control emotions
While this seems obvious, in the heat of the moment when a negotiation is in full swing, things can get intense. It’s important that while emotions are running high, you do not allow the negotiations to move ahead without reaching a mutually beneficial agreement at the very least. Controlling emotions during the process is just as key as body language and the opinions being expressed. Failing to do so will demonstrate your weakness as a negotiator and give the opposing side the upper hand. 4. Ask for more than you want
It’s advised by experts to ask for more than you are willing to settle for, allowing room for negotiations to take place. When speaking of international negotiations, Henry A. Kissinger, professor at the Harvard Business School, said that your ability to get what you want depends on your ability to overstate demands. This is because the opposing side will believe your starting point is not your conceding point, and so will expect you to go lower. Starting at a higher point ensures counter-offers can still fall within acceptable parameters. This technique can help secure a deal that feels like a win-win scenario. 5. Timing is key
Don’t tip your hand too early. Timing is key, and patience is often lost during negotiations. Negotiators wanting to secure deals too soon will cave under pressure, and offer concessions too early into the talks. Knowing when to continue negotiating, and when the time is right to conclude talks, can be the difference between winning and losing a negotiation.
While these are only a few tips to help you through the negotiation process, expert advice and training courses can help you advance and perfect your skills, giving you the upper hand when entering deals, and ultimately helping you achieve important business wins.