5 Rules for Negotiating Like A Pro

5 Rules for Negotiating Like A Pro

No matter whether you are negotiating for a raise with your boss, negotiating a vacation schedule with your ex-spouse or negotiating with a seller or buyer on an on-line auction, there are certain guidelines or principles that will help you settle your disagreements.

Rule 1. Focus on the goal.

Don’t be preoccupied by your emotions. It is vital to check your emotions at the door before trying to negotiate anything. Emotions such as anger can make you lose control. We have all seen someone who gets red in the face and starts shaking his finger and generally looks as though he could easily have a heart attack. Sometimes that person is so mad that he is incoherent. You need to get through that stage if you are going to succeed in your negotiating.

If you are the one who is angry and upset, you need to focus on what you hope to achieve and tell yourself that nothing is going to stand in the way of that goal.  It really does not matter whether you like the other side or not. Some parties are rude, obnoxious, insulting and you really want to say something about it, but try to get past these insults so you can focus on agreeing on your dispute. The other side may be tempting you so don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing they have gotten to you. This does happen a lot in negotiating, as each person is trying to predict how the other person it going to react to the next demand or requirement. You want to stay focused on the goals of the negotiation, it won’t matter whether you like or respect the other party, the final agreement is all that matters.


Rule 2. Look forward, not back.

The past is called the past for a reason. If one party gets too involved in what has happened in the previously, it can be counter-productive. For example, one party in a divorce case, may be so intent on documenting everything the husband has done wrong, that the wife is not even thinking about the goals of the negotiation beyond blaming the husband. You should figure out a way to get to the NOW and deal with current issues of negotiation. Don’t be afraid to ask the other party what they want now to resolve the dispute.




Rule 3. You don’t have to be right to settle.

What are the three words we want to hear the most, even more than “I Love you”? We love to hear those magic words, “You are right”. For some people, this is even harder to say than “I love you”. And if you say, “You are absolutely right”, that is even better. When someone says, “It is the principle that counts” or “It is not the money, it’s the principle!” We know that the negotiation is in trouble. That is because the party is making a judgment call that it is more important to be a martyr than settle the negotiation.

When someone is obsessed with the principle of a situation, he/she is still emotionally vested in his/her feelings. This was mentioned in rule 1. Unless you can get beyond those emotions, the dispute is not likely to be resolved. Feeling that you are right can be a strong emotion, but it should not be in any negotiation. If the other side is only interested in being right, chances are the situation won’t be resolved or it will take 10 time long to come to an agreement.


Rule 4. Know what you want and what the other side wants.

Knowing what you want may seem obvious, but many parties don’t know what they want. They are so angry that they have not even asked themselves the question ‘how can this issue be resolved’. If they don’t know what they want, how can they go about getting it? They may want to hash and rehash the situation that got them into this negotiation.

Depending on the complexity of the situation, you should have a full plan of what you want.  In addition to knowing what you want, you also need to know what you are willing to give up getting what you want. Generally, you can get what you want if you are willing to pay the price for it.  Don’t ever begin a negotiation without knowing what you want. Most of the time you will not get everything you want but if you can get even 60% of what you want it is still very good.

Have list with what is important to you, your requirements, and give it a score out of 10. Use this as your top demand list. You may be able to get 2 of your highest requirement if you give up on something that was scored lower. This will help you remember what is important and what is not.


Rule 5. Be prepared and do your research.

This although is the last on the list, I would like to say that this is probably the most important.

Do not underestimate the power of knowledge in a negotiation.

Once you have an idea what you want, you must do your research and preparation. That could be as simple as listing your arguments or as complex as doing the research to cost out a request for wage increases. Whichever way you want to do it, you need to be prepared. Or else you might make a concession or agreement that you will later regret. You need to know the basis behind your requests and a good approximation of the costs, including the future costs. It is not just about the now it is also about the future.

Nothing is more embarrassing than making a presentation and having someone question the accuracy of your numbers. Then having the whole presentation fall apart because the data is confusing, or even worse incorrect. If you are not totally prepared, consider delaying the start of the negotiation. If you go in with little or no information, and try to wing it, you will regret it later. You cannot be over-prepared. Even if you don’t use everything you prepared, it does not matter. It is important to have as much information and research as possible just in case you need it.



Originally posted 2017-10-09 09:01:07.


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