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When many of us hear the words negotiation or negotiate, we’re inclined to think about sitting across the table from others and working out the terms of a deal or transaction.  And in some cases this is accurate.

However, when you stop and consider our day-to-day interactions in both our personal and professional lives, we’re often negotiating.  As an example…agreeing on what restaurant to dine in, deciding which movie to see, choosing which vendor to use, working out the terms of a new job with an employer…and the list goes on and on.  It’s really all about negotiating—sort of a meeting of the minds, if you will.

The common denominator in each of these situations comes down to communication. Here are 6 suggestions to ensure a better outcome the next time you find yourself negotiating.

1. Decide in advance what your optimal outcome is by carefully reflecting on it vs. being impulsive.

2. Once you know what you want, focus on how to express yourself and practice delivering this message so you’re effective at getting to the point.

3. Now that you know what you’re seeking and how you’re going to convey it, switch gears and think about how your goals will be received by the other person(s).  This is perspective-taking and vitally important in negotiating.

4. Strive for a win-win.  This way you’ll get at least some of what you want while also ensuring the same for the other person.  You want to avoid a power struggle since someone is inevitably in a losing position.

5. Ask insightful questions to help you learn more about what the other person or people are seeking.  While it’s tempting to assume we understand, it’s quite easy to misread or misinterpret the intentions of others.

6. Listen carefully.  Now that you’ve asked the right questions, pay close attention to how others respond and then offer to restate what you heard to ensure accuracy.

When you and the people or person you’re interacting with feel you’ve reached a meeting of the minds, that’s truly the heart of negotiating.  As you can see that only happens if you’re a savvy communicator.

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