Negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
Start by asking yourself questions. What kind of negotiator are you? Are you assertive, an analyst or an accommodator? Plan your negotiation to match your style. Walk in as who you are. How does your style affect your negotiation strategy? If you are working with a team use different negotiating types for a balance.
Be prepared. Know your Best Alternative to a Negotiating Agreement (BATNA). What do you want to walk away with? Create a win-win. Create a yes mindset. Make a list of questions to ask. What answers do you need from the other person?
Trust, chemistry and value are of utmost importance and should be a focus. They are mutually dependent. How you are perceived trumps facts. To create trust, talk through the issues. Go ugly early. In other words, talk about the worst issues or problems first. Don’t ignore chemistry. Research and learn the likes and dislikes of the person you will be negotiating with. It is all about person-to-person connection. Find something in common.
Create a process that you trust. An example is:
Step 1 – Agree to negotiate
Step 2 – Gather points of view
Step 3 – Focus on interests of all parties
Step 4 – Create win-win options
Step 5 – Evaluate options
Step 6 – Create an agreement
Review the process ahead of time and create questions on areas you struggle with.
Prepare ahead of time. Define what you want. What is important to you and how will it benefit the other party? Research the other party. Talk about their interests. Be friendly and personal. Create an opening statement and learn it. The goal is not to recite but to know it well. Touch on what is important to them. Practice and rehearse. Make a list of the most important points and go over and over them so you are sure to hit the main points. Practice with other people. Prioritize your points. Go ugly first. Second talk about the biggest issues. Third find some easy “yeses.” You want to get them in a positive mindset. Create a frame of mind to move beyond the no. Understand their needs. Prepare for pushback. What do you think they will push back on? Be prepared to provide responses.
Be slow and relational instead of fast and transactional. Preparation, research and strategy are critical. Get into the right mindset to overcome the fear of “no.” Many times people won’t ask because they are afraid of hearing no. Practice asking by challenging yourself to 10 asks a day. Creating 10 different ways to ask in everyday life for things you wouldn’t normally ask for helps you get past the fear of “no”. An example is, “Honey, will you do the dishes tonight?”
Be human – engage in small talk… Senator Strom Thurmond when giving advice on how to become beloved said to ask about a person’s children and grandchildren. People love to brag about their kids and grandkids. You can be a tough negotiator and be human, too. Ask open ended questions (who, what, when, where, why). It will get people to humanize what they need and helps to move past the issues.
Use tactics which include framing, anchoring and bluffing. Frame what you want or offer in terms of the biggest thing to them and form a discussion around that. Framing includes selective focus, gain versus loss and conflict management. Anchor by laying the groundwork early. Know what you will stick to. Anchoring includes lowball vs. highball, having the guts to stick to your number, being the first to drop the anchor and being willing to walk away. Know what you need to bluff about to get to a yes. Bluffing includes knowing when to bluff and when you’re being bluffed, being bold and drawing a line in the sand and assuming the other side is always bluffing. When bluffing don’t give away the trust factor.
Use good listening skills including labeling, mirroring and silence. Labeling is naming your conversation partner’s perspective. Think it through and ask questions to understand their mindset. Mirroring by repeating the last few words or critical words of their perspective can force them to elaborate. Mirroring shows you are listening and can begin with, “If I understood you, you want …” Become comfortable hearing an answer then sitting back and being silent. Taking things slowly can move the conversation forward.
Avoid the common mistakes of:
- Not going ugly early
- Not engaging in small talk
- Speeding through proposal and areas of discussion
- Defending ideas vs. understanding the other person’s concerns
- Not being prepared to move beyond no
If you’d like to contact Anna for any questions or clarifications, please feel free to reach out to her directly at:
Photos from the event