Regardless of which aspects or activities we are involved in, whether it involves our personal, business, or self – confidence impacting scenarios, we often end up in some sort of negotiations or negotiating activity/ aspect. Effective negotiations involve conceptualizing needs and focusing on solutions. In most cases, negotiating is dependent on these five components: 1. Do one’s homework carefully and thoroughly; 2. Effectively listen; 3. Absolute integrity and transparency; 4. An ability and willingness to prioritize and inform one’s adversary what our needs are; and 5. The inevitable achievement of a significant meeting of the minds. When one approaches negotiating as a cooperative rather than adversarial activity, the ability to negotiate a meaningful agreement is potentiated exponentially.
1. We often hear someone discuss the need to do one’s homework, but what does that actually mean? In negotiating, it means coming to the table completely prepared and “armed” with the necessary details and reasons for one’s position. However, it also requires studying the needs of the opposite side, and understanding their strengths and weaknesses, financial implications, and needs and potential areas of flexibility.
2. There is a big difference between simply hearing, and effective listening. It is a physical condition to have the ability to hear, but it is a needed (but acquired) skill to become an effective listener. To do so means avoiding the tendency to interrupt and dominate a forum with one’s own rhetoric, and focus on listening and posing questions that gather information while positively developing relationships. It also creates an opportunity to further one’s understanding of the other side’s needs and priorities.
3. A great negotiator must approach this process with absolute integrity, understanding that it is better to develop a relationship based on trust and honor, rather than on mistrust or opposition. Many have attempted to mislead an adversary during a negotiation, and while this at times may seem to have temporary positive results, in the end, it almost always destroys the essential fiber of producing a productive result.
4. Focus on the priorities and needs, and clearly inform the other side of what you are looking for. In many cases, when both sides are willing to look at alternatives, they can come out with a mutually beneficial result.
5. However, the goal of any negotiation, must be to come up with a meeting of the minds, where both sides feel they can walk away from the table, believing they have come up with a fair and equitable solution. This means using a win – win emphasis, and never approaching a negotiation with the objective of defeating an opponent.
Do you want to be an effective negotiator? If so, focus on these five components, work on the necessary skills, and maintain your objectivity and integrity.