[Image by Gerd Altmann of Pixabay]

We’re far more likely to have a win-win when we plan for it…as in negotiations.

Recently, I was asked to assist a new client with the skill of negotiating.  The more I thought about it, I realized that negotiating is a form of business communication and with that in mind, I set out to help this client.

The five steps to successfully negotiate are preparing, actively listening, speaking succinctly, asserting oneself, and developing a “plan B.”  In my experience, by identifying your “plan B” you are working towards a true win-win.

Preparing means knowing your purpose or intention.  It also helps to write this out which in turn will assist you in articulating it when the time comes.  This stage also includes knowing as much relevant information as you can about the person or people with whom you’re negotiating.

Actively listening means ensuring that you’re fully present when the other person or people express themselves.  It’s best to avoid multi-tasking or having access to anything which may be a form of distraction. As an example, this could include your looking at your cell phone, responding to emails, clutter on your desk, noisy environments, or interruptions.

Speaking Succinctly means practicing what you want to say first so that you can remove unnecessary words, avoid jargon, and knowing how to get to the point easily.

Asserting Oneself means speaking like you mean business, which includes head-to-toe communication.  This includes both your verbal and non-verbal language which must be congruent. Remember there is a significant difference between aggressive and assertive communication.  My suggestion is the latter but if you have any uncertainty, I can help you distinguish the two.

Developing a “Plan B” means deciding what you will accept even if it’s not the ideal. You want to start out with the ideal but it’s good practice to know what you will settle for or compromise if you can’t achieve the ideal.

In negotiations, there is no such thing as a winner and a loser.  Everyone should feel they were respected, listened to, and had a voice in the discussion.  That’s what is meant by a win-win.