How to Have a Successful Negotiation

As an effective negotiator you should always try to keep an open mind; the end result of the negotiation might be just as good even if it looks a little different from what you had in mind.

If there are lots of issues at stake, keep the whole set of issues in mind so that you can give way a little here to gain a little there. Try these ideas so you will have a successful negotiation.

Don’t go in aggressively or in an adversarial frame of mind:

1. Use friendly language and gestures.

2. Be prepared to chat about non-relevant subjects before getting down to business.

3. Arrange seating at angles or around the corner of a table rather than directly face-to-face.

Before you enter the room be sure you have got the most up to date position so you can negotiate with the latest facts and figures at your fingertips.

Negotiations can break down over the smallest misunderstanding; so if there is any doubt over a statement or quoted fact make sure you query and get it clarified immediately.

To avoid your reactions ‘giving away’ your feelings try taking notes. The appearance of you concentrating on your notes will cover up anything you don’t want to disclose non-verbally.

Be prepared to call for a ‘comfort break’ or ‘breather’ if you feel yourself sagging or uncomfortable or the room temperature is wrong. The concentration levels can easily suffer if you keep going without a break. This can also be a useful strategy when you feel that an item is becoming deadlocked.

If any item proves to be a sticking point, seek agreement to come back to it later. In the light of further discussion and agreement on other points, it may be more easily resolved later.

Watch out for small issues being blown up into ‘deal-breakers’ or sudden concessions which usually precede the attempt to ‘roll’ you through the really important issue.

Negotiation is something we all do every day. Mostly the outcomes are not earth-shattering but when the negotiation is important follow this advice to reach the best outcome for all parties.

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