5 tips for supercharging your negotiation skills02 May 2022
Negotiation is vital for any organisation, whether it be with colleagues, superiors, clients or stakeholders. However, according to Procurement Tactics, 40% of adults surveyed don’t feel confident in their negotiation skills. This apprehension is present for us as business leaders and people managers, as well as our employees. Fortunately, there are effective ways to help anyone bring their negotiation tactics to the next level.
Here are five tips for upgrading your negotiation skills.
1) Prepare and practice
It’s understandable for negotiation to feel like an overwhelming conversation, but as the old saying goes — practice makes perfect. Preparing and practising can help ease your mind before going into the actual conversation. This includes considering who you will be speaking with and where objections may come up along the way. Keep in mind, people are more likely to agree to a solution that benefits them as well as you — use this to your advantage.
2) Stay flexible and remember everything is negotiable
Staying flexible is typically an essential element of a successful negotiation. Don’t assume the answer will be no or allow yourself to get stuck when a counteroffer is on the table. Luckily, everything is negotiable so it’s best to consider this conversation as a tradeoff or rapport. They may have something that you want, but there’s a good chance you have something they want as well.
3) Pick your timing and approach it like a conversation
Finding the right moment to negotiate can be a significant factor in the outcome. Avoid approaching someone who is busy or stressed, and instead choose a time when they will be more open to hearing your case. The same goes for how you’re feeling. If you’re in an anxious state of mind, it might not be the right time for communication.
An effective way to ease either side into the meeting is to view this as a friendly conversation. This will allow you to hear each other’s side of the discussion more effectively — and eventually find a win-win solution that works for both parties.
4) Listen more than you talk and use silence to your advantage
Asking questions is a beneficial tactic to implement during negotiations. This is because whoever is asking the questions generally has more control over the direction of the conversation. While posing these questions and listening to the answers is important, it’s equally valuable to get comfortable with the silences in between.
5) Make the ask
This may seem rather obvious when it comes to negotiation, however, it’s more difficult than people realise. For example, a report from UC Davis found that 22% of adult women claim they never negotiate at all, despite recognising that it’s appropriate or even necessary. This emphasises the importance of simply asking for what you want. However, ensuring you have the data and points to back up your claim can go a long way toward making the conversation beneficial on both ends.
Negotiation is powerful, but it isn’t always easy. A combination of preparation, practice and our other tips can help you stay calm and confident — for a more successful outcome.