“I never dreamed about success,” said the esteemed Estée Lauder, “I worked for it.” Part of that work to achieve success, whether in business or sports coaching, is effective negotiating.
In this blog post, we look at tips from the top training experts at negotiations.com that can help you reach your goals in business or sports coaching. So, whether you’re just starting or looking to take your business to the next level, read on for some invaluable advice.
Be well prepared
One of the most important aspects of effective negotiation is preparation. Preparation gives you time to understand your own goals and objectives, as well as those of the other party. This allows you to enter discussions with confidence and a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve.
Additionally, taking time to prepare ensures that you can effectively communicate your position. You’re also better able to anticipate the other side’s moves and develop strategies for responding to them.
Here are a few key things you should do when preparing for a negotiation:
- Understand your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve through the negotiation?
- Try to identify the other side’s goals and objectives. What are they hoping to achieve?
- Think of what concessions you may need to make to achieve your desired outcomes.
- Develop a strategy for how you will achieve your own goals.
- Plan for possible objections and how you can respond to them effectively.
Effective communication means being clear and concise when conveying your thoughts and feelings. As Lee Iacocca once said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
Negotiators who can communicate well can reach agreements that are beneficial for all involved. They are also able to build positive relationships and avoid or resolve conflict.
To communicate effectively in a negotiation:
- use simple language that can be easily understood
- avoid using jargon or technical terms
- be clear about what you want and what you’re willing to concede
- be respectful of the other person’s time and patience
It’s important to listen carefully to what the other side is saying during negotiations. It allows you to understand the other person’s position, needs, and interests. Active listening also shows the other person that you are interested in what they have to say. This can help build trust and rapport, which are essential for a successful negotiation.
Finally, when you listen actively, you can gather the information that can help you reach a successful outcome. To improve listening skills:
- give the speaker your full attention
- listen without judging or jumping to conclusions
- pay attention to what the other person is saying with their body language
- ask questions to clarify anything that you don’t understand
- show that you’re interested e.g., nod your head, smile, and say things like “yes” and “I agree”
Develop emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is one of the most essential negotiating skills. This entails being conscious of your own emotions and how they influence your decision-making. It also demands comprehending other people’s feelings and how to make use of this knowledge to reach an agreement.
A few ways you can develop emotional intelligence are by:
- Understanding your triggers so you can better manage your emotions.
- Managing your emotions using techniques such as deep breathing or visualization to stay calm and focused.
- Observing people’s body language and listening carefully to understand what they are saying.
- Being empathetic as it allows you to easily recognize and understand other people’s emotions.
Confidence allows you to project an image of strength and capability. When others see that you are confident in your abilities, they are more likely to trust your judgment and be willing to work with you.
There are a few simple things you can do to build up your confidence before heading into a negotiation:
- make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals and what you want to achieve
- do your homework and research the other side as much as possible
- pick a time when whoever you are negotiating with, will be the most open to hearing you
- be polite but assertive
Rapport helps create trust and understanding. When negotiators trust and understand each other, there is often more cooperative behavior at the table. This increases the chances that you can reach an agreement that benefits all. Also, when people get along well, any conflict is resolved much quicker.
To build rapport:
- be friendly and open
- try to find common ground by looking for shared experiences or circumstances
- be genuine and respectful in your interactions
- admit when you don’t know the answer or have made a mistake
When you are trying to reach an agreement with someone, you must be able to understand their position and what they want. Asking questions allows you to do this. It also gives you the opportunity to provide information that the other person can use to improve their understanding of your situation. Additionally, if the negotiation begins to get off track, asking questions helps pull everyone back on track. When asking questions during negotiations, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure you are coherent in what you’re asking and avoid leading questions.
- Ask short, open-ended questions as they offer much deeper, more thorough, often subjective information.
- If a response is unclear, ask a follow-up question instead of making assumptions.
- Don’t bombard the other person with questions. Instead, pause to listen between answers. It gives you time to think about what was said and ask better follow-up questions.
In a negotiation, both sides are trying to come to an agreement that is acceptable to them. This can be a difficult and sometimes lengthy process, especially if the details are complicated. If either side gets angry or frustrated, it can make it harder to reach an agreement. So, try your best to keep your cool and remain patient.
Here are some helpful tips that you can use if you find yourself getting impatient:
- If temperatures start to rise, take a few deep breaths, or take a break.
- Remind yourself that negotiating is a process that takes time.
- Focus on the bigger picture.
- Don’t rush to accept offers. If you are feeling pressured to accept an offer, ask for time to review it.
Be a great problem solver
Negotiations always involve some degree of problem-solving. Even if both sides are in complete agreement on what they want, they still need to figure out how to make it happen. The more complex the negotiation, the more important problem-solving skills become.
Problem-solving skills allow you to quickly identify problems and potential obstacles and then come up with creative solutions that satisfy everyone involved. They also know when to walk away from a deal that isn’t working, and how to come back from a stalemate.
To develop this skill:
- Understand what the other person is trying to achieve.
- Try to come up with creative solutions that satisfy both sides.
- Be prepared to make concessions. Sometimes you have to give up something to get what is most important to you.
- Take the time to consider all your options before making a decision.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Negotiating can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that the best negotiators are always learning and developing their strategies. By developing and sharpening these eight key skills you can create win-win situations for all involved.