How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills in 5 Steps

To negotiate is a part of life. We negotiate daily. Great negotiation skills are needed to maneuver so that you can get the better deal for yourself. When was the last time you asked for something better? This could have been an upgrade on a flight or even for an extra packet of ketchup at the drive through. Your last negotiations were probably with friends via text messaging as you all decided where to eat for lunch or dinner. There is a way that you can become even better at negotiating.

When it comes to business we spend little time improving on the art of negotiating. For more success we have compiled five ways for you to improve in the art of negotiating.

No Aggression, All Assertive.
Being overly aggressive will put others on the defensive. Their defenses will not be down in order to receive you. You may be in for a confrontation instead of focusing on your end goal as to why you came in to the room. It is best to go in to a meeting or room in a friendly, but assertive manner. Put your feelings to the side and focus on how all sides can feel that they are receiving a fair deal. Compromise is certainly a part of negotiating. Be prepared with information and the benefits not just to you, but to the other side.

Listening and Understanding
Be ready to listen, not listen in order to respond. There is a big difference in listening and then only waiting to be heard. During the time you were waiting to be heard you were preparing your rebuttal, so there was no time to listen. Be in the moment and hear what the other party is saying. Talking less will also do the job and get your brain in place to hear more. By listening you can also get a handle on where the negotiations are headed.

Ask yourself pertinent questions and not just fluff in order to “win”. Think on the following questions:

  • What is their position?
  • How can you come to an agreement?
  • What do they need?

Understanding needs is like magic.

Once you have asked yourself the questions above and you understand what the other side needs and where they stand, then you can present information that presents the facts as such. If not, then the other side will not feel as if their needs are being met and the negotiation will be over. Unlike in sports, in negotiations each party wins.

Don’t Lose Patience
Getting ahead of yourself happens when you are in the middle of business. Don’t lose your patience. No need to lay down demands until you have listened. Take in the conversation, make small talk and connect with people during the meeting.

Stay Focused
Focus on the goal as to why you are negotiating. You may not get another opportunity to make things right or to get your own goals met. Take advantage of the moment now and stay focused.

Everyone who walks in to the room understands that there is a negotiation that will take place. Use the five key points above and be the one who leaves the room with your goal intact. You may have to give up something in order to maintain or gain the relationships around you. It is better to keep the bridge open rather than burn it along the way.