I specifically remember this one occasion sitting with my 3 years old son, having lunch. I was trying to convince him to use the fork while he was redecorating the floor with some tomato sauce pasta. Wanting to move between different strategies, I kept my positive thinking and my Can-Do approach to win this battle. I tried everything singing, storytelling, bribing, reasoning, aggressive, assertive, you name it!
I remember my lawyer telling me once:
“A good deal is where both parties are not really happy” so eventually I gave up.
The conclusion was that my 3-year-old child is a much better negotiator than I am, and there was only a very small chance to win this negotiation I was set to lose…
Young kids, 2-5 years old are also a very good example of tough negotiators. You will probably never get to a win-win situation, most likely you will find yourself having to wave a white flag. But not all negotiations are going to be that difficult. All you must do is follow some basic concepts that will help you win 95% of your negotiation (as for the other 5%...well, you can consult your kids).
Let’s start from the basic: why negotiate?
The answer is obvious. We all want to feel that we are getting a better deal.
We all want a salary raise, an awesome second-hand car bargain, a fantastic 5 year contract with your landlord, or even an exclusive distribution rights in your state. Whatever the reason may be, we want to have this reassurance that we are the ones saying the last word. We want to have this victorious feeling that when we share our story with our friends and family. For some, it even helps us to sleep better at night.
Coming down to business, a good negotiation may also help us to:
- Save a significant amount of money
- Improve our reputation and/or image
- Generate future business opportunities
- Reduce business risks
- Decrease loss
If you look around the internet you will find many different resources about the essential steps of negotiation. There are the 3 steps of negotiation, 4 steps of negotiation, 5 steps of negotiation, 7 steps of negotiation and so on. Well what is it? 3 5? 6?
The stages of negotiations
One traditional approach, defines the stages of negotiation as follows:
- Clarification of goals
- Negotiate towards a win-win outcome
- Implementation of a course of action
Whatever approach you are taking, it doesn’t really matter how many steps you take. All you have to do is just follow some basic guidelines that will help you negotiate a better outcome and for you to reach your desired outcome.
5 Essential tips to win your negotiation
1. Leave your Ego out of it
Negotiating is not about being right or wrong. If it was the case, you would not be sitting together to negotiate in the first place. It is about getting best outcome you want to achieve. Remember to replace your ego with your critical thinking skills and let your feelings rest aside.
2. Tactic not frantic
Start with smiles. Create a feeling of openness and spread your good vibe. You are sitting to discuss possible solutions, not to start a war. Your positive behaviour will help reduce the stress and tension. Your good will is already an advantage and helps you score some extra points. Where possible, always prefer to negotiate face to face. And when you meet with your negotiator prefer to sit side by side instead of opposite to each other – it is a gesture of good will and a sign of working together.
3. Know your boundaries
Each side will have their own boundaries that must be clear to start with. Never start your negotiation with the taking an extremity. It may cause the negotiation to in fact explode.
Be prepared for your negotiation, make a list and make sure you are aware of your limitations as well.
4. Stand your ground
Settling a negotiation meeting is like crossing a bridge. There are compromises that must be met by each one of the sides, however, it doesn’t mean that you must sell yourself short or cheap. Stay loyal to your values and principles especially if you are representing your company or business.
5. Plan B and C
Study your opposition before you negotiate and try to have a clear idea on what they will bring as an offer to the table. Having plan B and plan C will give you this leverage in case the negotiation hits a wall. Problem solving is an essential skill whilst negotiating.
About Tal Frenkel, our Educator.
I am currently serving our academic department as head of VET trainers and a business and marketing trainer.
I have been working in the VET industry over the last 5 years, performing a wide range of roles including management, training, mentoring, tutoring and inducting staff, developing, moderating and validating academic resources and materials.
I embrace a hands-on personal approach with an open-door policy which keeps me accessible to both students and peers.
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