Being a good negotiator can be helpful in a whole range of situations, like getting a better price on a product, swapping a shift with a colleague, or closing a business deal.
While not everyone is naturally good at negotiation, it is a skill that can be developed. This is great news for anyone looking to hone their negotiation skills and get a little bit better at finding mutually beneficial deals with different parties, whether that be in a personal or professional sense.
To help you on your way, here are 6 tips for improving your negotiation skills.
1. Learn to See the Other Side
Get accustomed to seeing things from other perspectives. If you go in only aware of your own point of view, you are setting yourself up for failure. The best negotiations are ones where both parties are happy. You cannot land on this type of agreement if you don’t understand what the other person desires.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
There’s no better way to develop your negotiation skills than through practice. This might be through a mock meeting with a friend or colleague, or less formal experimentation through conversations. Try out different strategies and see what works. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at learning how to adapt to different situations.
3. Always Do Your Research
You should always enter a negotiation fully prepared. Know the situation, understand the value that the other parties are hoping to obtain, and be aware of what is fair. That way, you will be prepared to make decisions during the conversation that will help you move towards an agreement.
4. Try to Predict Settling Points for Both Sides
It’s one thing to know what your settling point is, but another thing entirely to guess at the opposition’s settling point. Make a habit of assessing both sides and what they hope to achieve. Then consider what’s the lowest they could land on to make a good deal, or what extra value you could offer to gain more concessions.
5. Be a Good Listener
Both sides want to be heard, so always be a good active listener. Demonstrate that you’ve heard the other party and understand where they are coming from. There’s a time and place to take a hard line, but good listening skills are always necessary.
6. Get Creative
Sometimes the best solution is not an obvious one. If you can’t come to an agreement, you might have to think outside-of-the-box to give each party the value they need and deserve.