A large part of success in business exists in the art of negotiation. Employers, employees, and customers all have their own needs and wants, so sharpening your negotiation skills can not only help everyone walk away from a conversation happy but could enhance your position in the business as well.
Unfortunately, for most people, negotiating techniques don’t come naturally. These skills are something both employers and employees alike have to learn. In this article, we’ll discuss how important the art of negotiation is in a business and how a negotiation program can help you.
The Art of Negotiation
The focus of a good negotiation is to reach a mutual agreement between two parties. Sounds simple, right? But when each person has a firm stance in what they want or need, and there’s no overlap, negotiations can be tricky. The art of negotiation takes each stance into consideration, but breaks down each party’s wants and needs to a level where common ground exists.
How does this relate to business? Well, proper negotiation techniques are useful for situations like negotiating a contract between an employer and an employee or leasing a fleet of trucks. Excellent negotiations will allow you to keep your business in mind while keeping your contacts happy, and that helps you build good relationships that pay off.
Learning How to Negotiate
As we said, learning how to negotiate is art. It takes education, experience, trial, and error to hone your skills. In addition to real-life practice, you can enhance your negotiation skills by taking a course like this strategic negotiation online course.
Taking a course can give you key skills you need to practice your negotiation techniques, read others during negotiations, and teach you how to manage conflict successfully.
How to Negotiate Effectively
You might think negotiating is about persuading someone else to see things your way and influence them to agree with whatever your goal is, but it’s more complicated than that. Negotiating isn’t about getting your own way, but coming to a mutual place of understanding and agreement so everyone walks away feeling satisfied with the outcome.
Here are four strategies to think about while perfecting your negotiating techniques.
1. Take out the emotional factor
When you have a point of view or feel passionate about a position, proper negotiation is nearly impossible. Focusing on the emotions behind your wants and needs and reacting based on those emotions is a quick way to lose not only your negotiation edge but also the respect of whoever you’re negotiating with.
So, the first rule in effective negotiation is to remove the emotional factor and only focus on the issue at hand. Having an objective perspective reveals more options to consider for both parties.
2. Hone your focus
Effective negotiations focus on solutions that will please both sides. Problems arise when each party focuses on what they want. If there’s no happy medium, one party will walk away feeling like he’s lost. And that’s not good for the future of your business.
Instead of focusing on the apparent wants of both parties, dig deeper. Is there an underlying interest-driven demand? What is motivating each person in this negotiation?
If you drill down to the core reason or reasons for each position, there may be a creative solution that will satisfy their underlying need. That way, you can both walk away, feeling satisfied with your agreed-upon solution.
3. Create win-wins
Once you’ve taken out the emotional factor and you highlight what each side really wants or needs, creating win-win solutions is far easier. Brainstorm solutions together that will give each party what they really want, underneath the surface demand. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Remember, a good negotiator thinks about a positive outcome for both parties because negotiation isn’t about winning; it’s about satisfying everyone as much as possible.
So, listen to and contribute ideas to the discussion. You might find that the solution ends in a different area than where it began.
4. Impartiality is key
You might be passionate about your stance, and likely the other party is too, but as we said in tip number one, leave your emotions at the door. Look at the problem as if you’re a judge, or a disinterested party looking at the issue unbiasedly. That goes one step beyond taking your emotion out and allows you to look at the issue from a third party perspective. When you have a position, it’s hard to be impartial, but an effective negotiator must practice this skill to be successful.
Before you walk into any negotiation, it’s good business practice to have a backup plan. Every time you enter a negotiation with someone, there’s a chance you won’t come to a reasonable solution that works for everyone. That doesn’t mean you’re not an effective negotiator. It means that nothing is perfect.
If you absolutely cannot come out of a negotiation feeling like both parties win, prepare to walk away from the table. Have a backup solution to your problem in mind before you negotiate, so if you have to walk away, you can still solve your problem.
Practice Makes Effective
The more you practice effective negotiation skills, the better you’ll be at negotiating. Does that mean you’ll always succeed? No. But it does mean that you’ll become more creative and confident in your negotiations, and that will probably give you more success. Also, you might consider taking courses to practice and sharpen your negotiation skills.
Always remember the lessons you learn in each negotiation both inside and outside the classroom because each one is unique. Use that knowledge in future negotiations, and over time you’ll grow to be an effective negotiator every time you walk up to that table.