People who are successful in business have learned the difficult skill of negotiation. How you present yourself to others goes a long way in getting what you need, but being prepared for obstacles before going into a meeting is just as critical. Do your homework so that you’re able to meet every challenge with a constructive response.
Learn Negotiating Techniques
These techniques may be part of a university’s degree curriculum for some careers. Attorneys, marketing professionals and public servants benefit from learning the skills of negotiation.
Objectives of a typical course include:
- Understanding the dynamics of the negotiating team
- Preparing for uncertainty
- Resolving any small discrepancies quickly
- Learning to be flexible as circumstances change
- Refining your approach if the opposing team demonstrates visual cues of discomfort
John Branca, an entertainment attorney, is no stranger to these tactics. He has represented many large names in entertainment, including Michael Jackson and Aerosmith. He realizes that the strategies that work under some conditions won’t work in others. What may seem threatening to one team may be business as usual for another team. That’s why it’s important to understand the personalities and circumstances of the opposing side before you begin the negotiating process.
Understand Which Techniques Work Under the Circumstances
It may be difficult to know when to push and when to listen. A good rule of thumb is to ask probing, open-ended questions that can’t be answered quickly. Then, sit back and wait for the response. Most people are uncomfortable with silence, so if you allow the other side to talk they may tell you everything you need to know.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be assertive, however. The successful negotiator understands that everything is negotiable. They also know that being assertive does not mean being aggressive. When you are assertive, you not only care about your interests but respect the needs of others as well. Being aggressive means caring only about your interests with no regard to others’ needs. Most people respond negatively to aggression, unless the circumstances allow for such techniques.
You should be willing to walk away from the situation if you can’t come to an agreement. The other side will realize you are serious, and they may be more inclined to make concessions. If the opposition sees that you are desperate, they won’t be willing to budge.
Becoming a successful negotiator takes time and practice. Allow yourself time to hone your skills.