Improving Negotiation Skills

Improve Business Relationships by Improving Negotiation Skills



Everyday around the world, people from all types of backgrounds find themselves face-to-face in trying to secure an agreement with a counterpart. In these cases, there are confronting issues that require careful deliberation. They will try to negotiate their way to a solution, a new relationship, and a new understanding of each others' needs. Together, they will try to create new ways of working together that satisfy their concerns without resorting to haggling or manipulation.


Whether your challenge is resolving conflicts or planning budgets, you negotiate your solutions. And the value of the outcome is not a matter of luck or coincidence. You expand the pie or create more value by negotiating wisely with the other parties.


You can create opportunities by developing skills in negotiating. You are probably already a negotiator and don't even know it.


What is a negotiator?


To qualify as a negotiator, all you need to do is negotiate. However, there are two kinds of negotiators:


1.The layperson—The layperson specializes in everyday, one-minute life negotiations, such as, "Jessica, will you loan me some money?"


2.The professional—This is usually someone who focuses his career on negotiating for a living.


What is negotiation?


Negotiation is a process, a trade. It means cooperation between two or more parties, where the parties have some shared interests and some interests that are opposed. Through negotiation, something of value is exchanged and all parties will have some needs satisfied. Negotiation also involves gaining favor with another party and arriving at a mutually agreeable settlement.


To demonstrate the difference between what negotiation is and isn't, it's helpful to take a look at it from both sides.


Confrontation — This is quarreling, arguing, battling. It is the opposite of negotiation. Negotiation focuses on reaching an agreement through cooperation and communication.


Win-lose mentality — The win-lose mentality is competitive in nature. It's the least desirable outcome, because it can foster a revengeful attitude and damage relationships.


Getting all you can no matter what — The attitude of “winner takes all” is harmful to negotiation and can erode the relationship with the other party. Negotiation involves both giving and getting. Greedy behavior centers on taking everything.


Leaving with less — Walking away with less than you traded for is not negotiation, especially if there is more to get. Negotiation guarantees that you at least get something in return for what you give.


Power trip — Power trips are synonymous with ego trips, and are not productive to the negotiation process. Negotiation is not about survival of the fittest.


Dirty laundry — Hanging out dirty laundry to expose, humiliate, or embarrass the other party is unwise in a negotiation.


Territorial — Using intimidation to gain advantage over the other party is unproductive and destructive. It can even lead to an oppressive relationship if taken to certain extremes. Beware of this territorial behavior. It is not characteristic of negotiation. No one likes doing business with people who get what they want by cheating, humiliating, or being mean. This kind of behavior makes true negotiation almost impossible. People like doing business with people they like. Negotiation is not intended to create enemies. Getting the results you want through negotiation is meant to be a mature, cooperative process. Trust, respect, and politeness are the cornerstones of the negotiating relationship.


Now that you know what negotiation is and isn't, you can feel more comfortable when your next opportunity for negotiating presents itself.