How to Improve Negotiation Skills

negotiation skills

Negotiation is an acquired skill and anybody can be trained to acquire good negotiation skills or improve their existing negotiation skills. In the process of social interaction, all of us are called upon to communicate our needs and expectations to others and also to listen to others stating their own needs and expectations. The process involves communicating back and forth to reach a mutual agreement on a deal or issue.

This process of negotiation is common to all interactions—personal and professional. A teenager negotiates for additional pocket money in return for promising good grades. A parent allows a child extended television time in return for help in household chores.

In our professional life, we negotiate for better pay from employers or set higher work targets for our reportees. Be it buying a house or car, a dispute over your mobile phone bill or about paying off your credit card, negotiation skills can play a significant role.

Improving negotiation skills is key to secure the best possible bargain.

There are four steps to a negotiation process and tips to improve negotiation skills at each stage are as below:

Improve Negotiation Skills – Step 1: Preparation

1. An effective negotiator spends time honing his information on the issue under negotiation and also about the parties to the negotiation.

2. He should endeavour to form a balanced view on the issue and the motivations behind the negotiation process. In a sales scenario, it may be as simple as brushing up your knowledge about the product, the buyer, and the selling points about the product.

In a legal scenario e.g. a business negotiation, the issues may be more complex. The negotiator must have important business figures available for ready reference.

3. In addition he should be aware of the legal and financial ramifications of different outcomes of the negotiation process.

For example, in a negotiation for splitting up an existing business among two or more stakeholders, the parties involved in the negotiations should be aware of the financial ramifications of the business getting split in terms of division of product lines, effect on anticipated profits, etc.

Improve Negotiation Skills – Step 2: Exchange of Information

1. At this stage, the parties involved state their expectations. The expectations should be fair and result in a winning situation for all concerned.

2. Expectations should be negotiable, i.e. open to scaling down, amendments or modifications.

3 It is important to elucidate the goals and expectations from a negotiation. The goal of a negotiation should be clear at the outset.

Improve Negotiation Skills – Step 3: Bargaining

1. In this stage, there is give and take between the parties. Compromise is the key to effective bargaining.

2. Knowledge of the mind-set of the opposing party is of great help here to arrive at a settlement. The parties agree to scale down expectations or modify them in return for a similar courtesy from the opposing party.

3. The bargaining process should be fair to all concerned and should result in a win-win situation. Effective bargaining and compromise should leave both parties with amicable feelings towards each other. For example, in a negotiation to buy electronic goods the sales person may agree to throw in a discount or free accessories in return for an immediate cash payment.

Improve Negotiation Skills – Step 4: Commitment

1. At the final stage, it is important to state the course of action or agreement reached.

2. The parties involved should commit on the course of action to be followed and also set a time frame for achievement.

For example, in a negotiation to buy a house, the builder may commit to a time schedule for handing over the house in return for the buyer agreeing to a fixed schedule of payments.

Conclusion

When selling, be bold and ask for the maximum value that you can justify, even if it seems a bit high. It will allow you bargaining range and satisfy them at the same time.

If you are negotiating your salary, it is better to do some research and find out how much others in equivalent positions in your city are being paid and have the printout ready in support of your claim.

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About the Author

Vasantha Chary is an avid reader and a passionate writer. She believes in reaching out to people across the world through her well researched articles. She has been writing for the internet for over 4 years on a variety of topics of general interest.

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