The Art of Negotiation

Being a strong negotiator is a powerful tool that benefits every part of your life. In your career good negotiation skills are essential, whether you are debating pay and work conditions or trying to get a better deal from your suppliers.

Here are some important tips that can improve your persuading talents:

What do you want?
Be absolutely certain of your needs. Know your non-negotiable requirements from your wants, those things you might like to have but aren't really essential. This way you can be clear from the start on what you are willing to compromise on.

Know what the other side wants
Look at it from their point of view. What's in it for them? If you can show them how you've anticipated their needs and can see it from their perspective, they will be more likely to compromise.

Do your research
Knowledge is power. An argument is far more persuasive with facts and data. It's much easier to convince someone with hard evidence than just quoting your opinion.
So come to the table with proof of average salary bands if you're fighting for a pay increase, or a quote from another supplier if you're looking for better prices. Enter the discussion armed with facts, information and comparable prices.

Consider non-monetary gains
Money is not the only issue to consider in a negotiation. Of course you will want the best price, highest pay etc, but if the other party won’t budge on this explore other benefits. In a pay negotiation, this could be flexible hours, annual leave allowance, corporate heath insurance, etc. In negotiation with a suppler, examples could include after sales service or discount on bulk purchase.

Plan a sequence of incremental proposals. Try to anticipate the other side’s counter proposals and what your response shall be. Be strategic in aiming high at the start so you have room to manoeuvre.

It can be advantageous to let the other party speak first and make the opening offer. Listen and acknowledge their position, before putting forward your response.

Seek a win-win outcome
It is ideal if each party can walk away feeling like they have gained something. It bodes well for future interactions and strengthens the commitment to the terms agreed upon.

Know when to walk away
Stay firm on your requirements. If they are not met, be prepared to walk away. It is not always possible to negotiate a satisfactory outcome, accept this and learn when to let it go.

In conclusion, as with any skill, preparation and practice can help you to make substantial improvements. After each negotiation, analyse what you could have done differently and the areas where your plan could have been better. It gets easier each time!