Negotiations are a fact of life. We negotiate every day and sometimes even when we don’t realize it. The impact it has in our lives has more weight than we thought like the growth of our small business when we negotiate for sales or contract terms with clients or vendors. Negotiation is not a dispute or disagreement or even a confrontation, it is a discussion aim at reaching an agreement. Before, during, and after a negotiation, we experience a mixture of positive and negative emotions:
So how do you deal with this roller coaster of emotions that goes into negotiating? The best way to plan for a positive outcome is to prepare.
- Reduce the feeling of being anxious by practicing or role playing, training, or rehearse what you’d like to say. If you feel like the anxiety is too much for you to handle, you can hire an expert negotiator like an attorney. It is something that they do professionally and can be emotionally removed from the situation at hand.
- Manage your anger. Be assertive, not aggressive. Many people may seem to think that appearing angry when negotiating is effective when in reality, it does more damage than good especially in your long term relationships
- Know your priorities. Know your walk away terms, and be willing to walk when needed. Rank priorities based on your negotiables and non-negotiables
- Prepare counter offers. Don’t counteroffer too low or too quickly to avoid disappointment later
- Be considerate. Don’t gloat when you feel that you walked away with a better deal than the other party
- Build rapport to reduce the chance of the other party to show anger when negotiating
- Aim for a win-win. It’s a collaborative conversation, not a confrontation or dispute
- There are skills and tactics you can use in order to become a more effective negotiator, such as:
- Active listening
- Ask open ended questions
- Timing. Know when is the best time to negotiate or inject the question
- Emotional intelligence
Honing your negotiation skills is not just beneficial in business but also in your personal life. By managing how we react to situations and by keeping our emotions in check when dealing in business can only have a positive impact. It is best business practice to never approach the table with the goal of taking advantage of the other party. We will always get the best deals by making sure we are prepared heading into the negotiation table.
To learn more and develop your negotiating skills, below are additional resources:
- Entrepreneurial Negotiation: Understanding and Managing Relationships that Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success, by Samuel Dinnar and Laurence Susskind
- Better Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness, by Max H. Bazerman
- Real Leaders Negotiate! Gaining, Using, and Keeping the Power to Lead through Negotiation, Jeswald W. Salacuse