Prepare: If you enter a negotiation process without properly preparing for it, then you’ve already lost before the discussion has even begun. If you are entering into a salary negotiation to haggle price, for example, you need to know how much the industry standards are for your particular position. You have to understand the market, as well as the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the other side.
Listen: Even though this sounds simple, listening is still one of the most effective negotiation techniques. Talking incessantly will not necessarily help you get what you want out of a deal. In fact, you may just end up saying something you’ll regret later on. Never interrupt someone who is speaking, and encourage others to say their piece first. Great listeners make up some of the best negotiators.
Treat all parties with respect and control your emotions: No negotiation is worth burning bridges or even sacrificing entire relationships. It is absolutely crucial that you treat all parties with utmost respect, and that you leave emotions off the table. If the situation turns overheated, take a time-out, and meet again when you’ve considered other options.
Choose your wording wisely: Another negotiation tip is to avoid using “I” when negotiating, and instead, use “we”. Your choice of words can quickly signpost whether you’re exclusively looking for your own interests or are actually wanting to make the discussion a two-way effort.
Understand that timing is everything: Timing is one of the most difficult yet important negotiation tactics to master. While you obviously know what you want to get out of a discussion, it is equally as important to know when to ask for it. To learn how to negotiate effectively, you need to understand when to be quiet and wait for the other party to make the next move.
Look for alternatives: If a negotiation doesn’t seem to be going in the direction you’d like it to, don’t just stop the conversation and walk away. It is an effective negotiation technique to ask about any alternative options, and you may just come across a better solution that you wouldn’t have even considered yourself before.
Avoid ultimatums: When learning how to negotiate, it’s important to avoid proposing ultimatums as a bargaining tactic. Making unseemly demands and offering a take-it-or-leave-it approach is a negotiation trick that is unlikely to get you very far.
Have an exit strategy: If you aren’t quite ready to make a decision and need some time to think things over, use an individual who isn’t present at the negotiation process as an excuse. Tell the other party that you first need to run the details by your spouse, attorney, or even business partner, and that you’ll be in touch.
Stay with your own values: People who have good negotiation skills have a tendency to to only do things they are comfortable with. Don’t try out negotiation tactics that are so totally out of character, as others may see right through you. When encountering deals wherein you are asked to compromise your values, always try to stay true to your principles, and learn to walk away from negotiations that cross boundaries you shouldn’t be crossing.
Don’t move too fast: Whilst there are a lot of good negotiation tips to help you become an advanced negotiator, it’s virtually impossible to remember everything. To make things a little easier, try out one negotiation trick or tactic at a time in various situations.
Martin P R Collins is a negotiation expert at Geneva Education who often gives very useful advice in his blogs and articles. Look here to learn his 20 most common negotiation tips, most of which are very suited in salary negotiation situations. Or click here for a free negotiation trick on a 90 second YouTube video.