Improving Your Workplace Negotiation Skills
An important skill to have when you’re in a busy work environment is negotiation. When more than one option is available to take, and there is more than one person in the room, having effective negotiation skills will work well in your favor. It can help you diffuse volatile situations, determine mutually acceptable deals between two or more parties, settle agreements for leave or deadlines, and much more. There are a few ways you can build and improve upon your negotiation skills.
To start with, you should be upfront with what you consider to be non-negotiable. If everyone is aware of what the other party will not be dissuaded from, it’ll be much easier to come to an understanding or agreement based on those boundaries.
Before entering any negotiation, make sure you prepare beforehand. Do your homework the night before and gather enough information to give you a clear understanding of what a good deal or personal agreement will look like with the other party. If you’re uncertain, reach out to your colleagues, team members, and leaders for their insight on the situation. Figure out if the negotiation is real or an exercise; likewise, determine whether you’re in the negotiation to test yourself or someone else. Finally, before entering the negotiation, figure out what the best deal will be for your party. The other party will have information and a “best deal” that you’re unaware of, but going into the negotiation with your own expectations will give you an idea.
You can prepare best for negotiations by practicing your skills beforehand. Some people are natural negotiators, but others learn this skill through practice and improving themselves. Rehearse what you want to say and your response to any counter-arguments you expect to hear during the negotiation. Being aware of your personal negotiation style will help you stay calm. You’ll already be aware of your emotional and personal triggers, keeping yourself on the topic rather than becoming derailed from the conversation.
When hashing out an agreement, make sure to ask for more if the other party does so. If they ask for more money, for example, you can ask for more productivity in return. If the other party believes they’ve already won, it’s easier to negotiate for more.
Finally, using “power cards” in negotiation can influence talks in your favor. Appearing indifferent about whether or not you buy or sell a product can help, as can making something appear harder to achieve than it actually is. Most importantly, remain confident in your work, and don’t be afraid to walk away if necessary. If the other party knows you’re unafraid of doing so, they may offer you better terms.