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4 Negotiation Skills Everyone Should Master

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

by Sabeena Maureen. |

What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word, ‘negotiation’? Probably some scenes from your favourite law and police work-related television shows such as CSI, Suits, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. However, negotiation does not just happen in television shows. Sometimes, you might not even realise that you have been using the skills in many aspects of your life. For example, you might have negotiated with phone sellers to give more freebies, or you might have to negotiate your way out of going to relative gatherings. The point is, negotiation is something that we do even if we do not realise it.

Since you are probably aware that you have the skills, do you know how to use it to your fullest benefit in instances such as asking for a raise at work, when doing business with difficult clients, or while leading a team in your office? Here are some tips which you can cultivate for a successful negotiation.

1. Remember the 3Ps (Prepare, prepare and of course, prepare)

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It has been proven that in most unsuccessful negotiation scenarios, it was due to unpreparedness of the negotiator. To avoid that, firstly, get a clear understanding of what kind of outcome you would like. You would want the best case scenarios to play into your favour. However, it is also important to prepare for worst-case scenarios. That way, you will still manage to get the best out of the situation that you are in. So start with researching the other side to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Also, it is important to prepare that certain compromises are needed to achieve greater outcomes!

2. Put your ears to good use!

Always listen to the other party first, and if possible, encourage the other person to make their case or talk first. This helps you to understand what the stakes are and/or the necessary information you might need to make a stronger case. For example, if you are a buyer who is negotiating a cheaper price for your goods, you would make a more convincing or seducing deal if you know the seller’s deal. You could negotiate and promise that for a cheaper price, you will introduce more buyers to the seller, for instance.

3. Give a deadline

It is a common human tendency in many negotiation cases that one would be interested and the other would be reluctant. Of course, it may not be the same for every case, but you would have 80% odds in these cases. In this situation, the previous two skills would give you an amazing upper hand. As you would have all the necessary information, you can give the other party a deadline to ‘force’ them into making a decision. By giving them deadlines, the time factor would increase the pressure on them to make a decision instead of dilly dally-ing the whole situation.

4. The Mirroring

As negotiation usually happens between people, the element of trust and rapport is important. Mostly, people would only build business or relationships with people that they trust and like. So to create a good rapport and trusting relationship, you can mirror the other person’s behaviour. For example, you can echo their main points or certain phrases to show that you are interested in whatever they are saying. This will show that you are respectfully listening to them, and you have their interests as your top priority. However, be careful with this technique, as it might be seen as mocking the other person if done excessively and comically.

In conclusion, negotiation skills are simple but the act of negotiating is not an easy thing to do, as we are all from different walks of life. But just like all skills, with determination, focus and repetition, it can naturally be cultivated and soon, you will have many successes under your belt!

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