Dos and Donts of Negotiation

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Do: listen carefully to the other party
* Remember that a negotiation is a conversation. A classic mistake people make when they enter negotiations is to assume they need to make their points forcefully in order to get what they want. * Be sure to listen effectively — you´ll be more likely to come across as a potential partner rather than an adversary. Do: put yourself in the other person´s shoes

* Speak to the person you are negotiating with the way you would like to be spoken to. * Put yourself in the other person´s shoes in order to understand their motivations and priorities. Not only will you come across as a more empathetic negotiator, you may also communicate your own priorities more clearly as a result. Do: review and practice your communications style regularly

* If you´re concerned about being too soft in negotiations, take a fresh look at your style. It may be helpful to "practice" a negotiation session with a colleague or partner ahead of time, with each of you playing the role of one of the parties. This exercise will give you new insights and perspectives on what works and what needs to be worked on in your presentation style. Do: let the other party score some points, too

* Rather than think about a negotiation as a competition, make it a priority to find common ground and navigate jointly toward a win-win solution. You may not be ready to make major concessions on certain issues, but you can probably find a way to bend in other areas - and let the party across the table score some points, too. * Prior to the meeting, identify a few areas where you would be prepared to compromise. * Think ahead about how and when you'll give up a bit of ground. Some negotiators believe it makes sense to appear flexible in the beginning of talks in order to set a positive tone and prove you're serious about getting results. Others believe you should play it cool for a while, and cede ground only when it appears you won´t otherwise get what you desire. Do: settle on a meeting agenda before talks begin

* Successful negotiations usually begin with an understanding between parties about exactly what will be discussed. That way, everyone has the ability to put together a relevant presentation and think about answering any questions that may arise. * Sitting down together without a clear understanding of what´s on the agenda increases the chance that your meeting will be unproductive. Worse yet, it could leave people feeling blindsided by issues they weren't prepared to discuss. Don´t: forget to do your homework

* In addition to knowing everything about your own business position and objectives, it´s also crucial to become an expert on the party with whom you're negotiating. * Just as job seekers need to know as much as possible about the company where they hope to work, you need to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge about your negotiation partner. Doing so will make you look more credible and may also open your eyes to additional opportunities. Don´t: offend the party across the table

* This may seem like a common-sense tip, but it´s one that´s often forgotten in the heat of a passionate discussion. Of course, you may feel the need to make a point that your audience considers less than flattering - such as identifying weaknesses in a business plan, personal dynamic, or knowledge of the topic at hand. If that's unavoidable, try to couch your comment with a compliment.

* Find common ground early… return often… - This is a simple rapport-building tip, however so much of negotiating is simply having great rapport.  I try to utilize this in all new situation, not only ones I intend to negotiate.  While at the dentist, we had conversations about my family, my upcoming trip, and even my blog all before discussing the bill.  Turns out several of the nurses and the dentist all love travel, too!  Who doesn’t really? * Quickly try to isolate the shot-caller – It’s important that you are...
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