Lifestyle

5 ways to become a better negotiator

How to avoid becoming overly emotional and compromising the deal

Letting your emotions get the best of you during a negotiation happens. With a stake in the deal, either financial or emotional, you probably feel strongly about your viewpoint and proposition. But the other party probably feels the exact same way.

In order to appropriately communicate your point and create a conversation that’s well-received, use these five tactics:

1. Have a strategy

Write down all of the points you want to make and how you’re going to state them. If you’re not a strong communicator, highlight important phrases you think might slip your mind. Selecting keywords beforehand lessens the odds of you overusing “um” or “you know.”

Silence is better than small talk. Give the other party a chance to respond, and don’t fill the air with chatter — it makes you look nervous.

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Always focus on results, not details. If the other party wants to assume they’re leading the discussion, let them believe they are in control. What does it matter as long as you achieve your desired outcome?

2. Know your opponent

Have you worked with this person before? Have your colleagues? If the other party tends to negotiate aggressively, prepare adequately. Don’t respond with anger or hostility. Instead, keep your voice calm and steady. They might be using this tactic to get a rise out of you or fluster you so you withdraw.

If they tend to be quieter with a reputation of success, they probably allow others to talk themselves into the ground. Don’t let that tactic work on you.

3. Be mindful of your body language

Avoid crossing your legs, pointing with a closed fist or shaking your foot.

Make eye contact if you’re interested, smile when you’re in agreement, and walk purposefully and sit attentively.

For a more detailed psychological analysis of body language, check out this article on Entrepreneur.

4. Practice neutrality

The point of negotiating is to find the solution that appeases both parties, so it’s important to think about the opposing point of view once in a while.

If the other person can’t visualize mutual benefits, explain how it benefits their client, personal finances, or predominant business goals using numbers and factual evidence. This type of proposition requires industry research, so set aside time for chart and graph making.

A buyer, for instance, is more receptive if you start a price pitch with, “This is a great deal because comps in this area sell for $50,000 more than the asking price, allowing for a large return right away.”

5. Analyze your failures

When a deal falls through, write down everything you can remember about the meeting. Ask yourself the following key questions:

Did the other party seem confused at all? You might need to work on explaining thoroughly rather than rambling. Practice to-the-point communication. It might be tempting to regurgitate all of your information at once, but oversaturating with details might muddle your message.

Also, who controlled the conversation? If you didn’t vouch for yourself or your client, you might have dropped the ball. Speaking carefully and not speaking at all are two separate things. You have to express some passion in your pitch.

Finally, did they seem happy with the outcome? If you weren’t happy and they weren’t happy, there was some serious miscommunication.

Negotiations aren’t just about winning or losing; expressing your point of view appropriately and successfully takes practice. Be patient, be kind and be purposeful.

Email Jennifer Riner.


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