Tips to Become a Better Negotiator

“Negotiation means getting the best of your opponent.” –Marvin Gaye

We do it all day, every day at home, at work, in our heads – negotiating is an inherent part of our lives. So who wouldn’t want to become better at such an integral skill?

“Knowing what you want and when to get it.”

First off, let’s be clear. Negotiation does not equal confrontation. Many people prefer to avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations. However, negotiating is an art, not a fight tactic – it is nothing to be scared of when you are skillfully prepared!

better negiotiator1. Know What You Want From the Very Beginning
Never enter into a negotiation without knowing the exact outcome you desire. For example, homeowners list their for-sale houses at asking prices deliberately priced higher than they really want. This is a negotiation tactic – setting up the situation so that the buyer and seller must do a dance, with the seller’s odds of actually getting what they want already significantly higher. Then they can employ various tactics to help ensure that they get it in the end.

2. Be Prepared – Don’t Be Sidetracked By Unpredicted Offers
Appropriately assessing your competition is vital. Much like knowing what you want; do your best to find out what they want in advance, so that you can predict their moves. The best chess players are always three moves ahead of their opponent mentally, predicting the opposition allows for appropriate retaliation. Avoid surprises!

3. Timing Is Everything!
Make the first move – it’s imperative. It gives you some standing ground, sets the stage for the opponent and allows you to guide the course of the negotiation. Set aside more time than you predict necessary, as haste weakens the outcome. Some experts say that the time of day and even day of the week can also affect a negotiation.

4. Active Listening.
When you are only talking, you are most definitely not listening. Active listening means you are engaging with the speaker, giving them room to speak and following up with questions. It shows you were paying attention, respecting their time and boundaries. Never forget to use silence as a powerful tool as well!

5. Be bold, Be Fearless!
While you may have started the conversation “dropping anchor” and laying down your bottom line, do not be scared to be bold if the opportunity presents. Early assessment of risks and adversities will provide you with the tools necessary to be fearless!

Feeling like there is never enough time in a day? This is common when you wear many hats as a business owner. Try writing out a job description to really nail down how you should be spending your time. What if you were to hire your own replacement, how would you accurately dictate their job responsibilities? Utilize this outside-look-in to reassess how you are scheduling your time and hopefully feel more focused.

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