Here are three subtle ways to improve your negotiation skills.

Use these 3 subtle ways to be a better negotiator


If there’s one lesson that’s been made clear to me time and again over the years, it’s this: you can’t do everything yourself. To succeed in business you need people on your side. Sometimes these people will join your cause of their own accord because they can see the value in what you’re trying to achieve, but often they’ll take some convincing. This is why negotiation skills are so important at all levels of management.

Negotiation is a subtle, complex engagement. Here at ICML we offer in-depth influencing and negotiation skills training that focuses on trust and communication. But to begin with, here are just three lessons to help you make your point more convincingly.

1. Control your emotions

Thomas Lys, Professor Emeritus of Accounting Information & Management at the Kellogg School of Management, says that too many people confuse value with emotional satisfaction during negotiations. Instead of working towards the resolution you need, you get caught up in the one that you think you want at that moment.

Passion can be a good thing. But getting too angry, upset, or even excited can skew your judgement.

This doesn’t mean you have to be an unemotional robot. Passion can be a good thing. But getting too angry, upset, or even excited can skew your judgement. Think of the home buyer who sets themselves a limit, but then goes over it in a frantic bidding war. The way to avoid this is to stay focused on the end result.

“Write down your goals and stick to them,” says Lys. “You should only deviate from these goals if you learn something you could not possibly have known before.”

Successful negotiation should lead to a win-win outcome.Successful negotiation should lead to a win-win outcome.

2. Remember that negotiation is about give and take

A successful settlement should be win-win. Richard Chang Associates, a performance improvement consulting firm, recommends that you go into every negotiation thinking of it as as an exchange. Good negotiation doesn’t just mean taking what you want from the other person. It means finding a solution that suits you both. Keeping this goal in mind helps you avoid a conflict where each participant digs their heels in about what they want and won’t budge to meet the other person.

This approach isn’t always successful. In some situations you just won’t be able to negotiate a settlement that suits both parties. That’s OK – some discussions just don’t work out, and recognising that this is the case and amicably agreeing to walk away is a better choice than continuing to waste energy on a hopeless outcome.

3. Make it about them

A good negotiator knows that every individual is different and tailors their approach to the particular person they’re trying to win over. Tracy Cocivera of talent development company Lee Hecht Harrison says in Forbes that it’s a mistake to just fall back on the same techniques you’ve used in the past. They may have worked In previous negotiations, but that’s not to say they’ll work for your current potential collaborator.

Take stock of what you know about the person and use this knowledge to win them over.

Instead, take stock of what you know about the person and use this knowledge as a base for your persuasive argument. By framing your points in a way that appeals to them and their worldview, you’re more likely to win them over.

“Successful influence is a combination of the right tactics for that colleague,” Cocivera says. “Not everything is a nail, even if all you have is a hammer. Savvy influencers are skilled at using a range of influence tactics, and they strategically apply the right tactics based on their understanding of their colleague.”

Successful negotiation can lead to long-term professional relationships built on trust and shared goals. It’s a skill that will help you in all aspects of management. To become a more influential leader, take advantage of ICML’s influencing and negotiation skills training course in Melbourne. Please get in touch to find out more.

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