In my last blog I talked about Negotiation as a game and needing to understand your own conscious and unconscious rules and also about making an effort to figure out what your opposite number's rules are as well.
That is certainly in my Top 7 Tips along with a few other hints to make negotiation more fun and less arduous.
- Know the Rules
Identify the rules you follow when entering into a negotiation and identify the expectations you have about how you think other people should behave. If you pay really good attention you can probably figure out what 'the other side's' rules are. You can come a cropper if you expect others to follow your rules if theirs are different.
- Know your bottom line
Whatever the level of negotiation, it's essential to be clear what is non-negotiable. Although it's always wise to be flexible, you have to know for yourself what you won't compromise on. You don't have to declare that up front (see Hint 4); at the same time, you do need to strategise how to achieve it.
- Be willing to give something away
In order to better achieve what you want, make sure you have a few 'giveaways' to add to the mix. Making concessions helps you look more accommodating and people often feel compelled to return the favour by making concessions back. Be generous without giving the whole shop away.
- Also, know to keep something back
Being too accommodating means you might indeed end up giving the shop away, so hold back. There's no need to declare your bottom line the minute the negotiations start. By taking it slowly you also get to gauge how the other side is reacting and you can adjust your tactics accordingly.
- It doesn't have to be adversarial
A lot of negotiations end up being a fight because there's an expectation that it will be difficult. If you go in with the attitude that both sides can get what they want (that cliché of win-win is a great place to end up), your body language, behaviour and approach will all reflect that and make you better equipped to handle what comes across the table.
- Really listen to what 'the other side' wants
Listening to what 'they' want not only will give you insight into their 'rules' but will give you insight into what's important to them, what they may need in order to meet you half-way, what motivates them and conversely, what will make them bristle and shut down.
- Be prepared to 'change your want'
This is my personal favourite and transformed the way I negotiated once I realised what a great tool it was. Back off from the bottom line and change what you want. You don't have to give up your bottom line, you just need to be prepared to wait longer to achieve it. If you're in the middle of a difficult negotiation hanging on to your bottom line may turn things highly adversarial; if you shift your want to building rapport or developing the relationship between you, you have a far better chance of getting what you want in the long run.
There are loads more hints and tips to be found on our Negotiation courses as well as the opportunity to practise trying out new ways of arriving at win-win.