Negotiation skills are a requirement for success in business and personal matters. Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do during an important negotiation. The stress that often accompanies a meeting like this can contribute to problems for many who have not learned how to manage this uncomfortable emotion. As with many life skills, practice improves negotiation abilities.
There are common mistakes that many people make in the heat of the moment. Understanding and anticipating these possibilities ahead of time is a good way to avoid them.
Do not go to a meeting unprepared. Proper research is one of the best negotiation skills to learn and it is crucial to get as much information as possible prior to any negotiation. The adage equating knowledge with power could not be more true than it is for the purpose of achieving goals during an important negotiation.
If the other party is well known, then it will be easier to find information on the Internet about them. Whenever possible, consult with people who know the other party to find out as much information as possible. For example, if you discover that a customer has a tendency to always be in a hurry, then you can leverage that information to gain an advantage in the negotiation.
Talking too much
Use silence as a negotiating tool. Silence can be your best friend in terms of making the other party nervous. This strategy could make them more amenable to making concessions to fill the gap.
The good news is that being prepared for an uncomfortable silence is a good way to get ready for any negotiation. Knowing when to speak can be just as vital as the words you choose for you to influence the outcome of the negotiation. Use long pauses to allow yourself a moment to reflect and to make your fellow negotiators squirm. One technique used by skilled negotiators is to wait for awhile to answer a question.
Do not rush the negotiation or be impatient to finish with the proceedings. In order to be successful, it is important that you take the necessary time for the normal give and take required to arrive at the destination of your choice.
Use your negotiation skills and don’t rush to make any concessions without getting something in return. Set aside plenty of time so there is no need to rush the proceedings to meet another obligation.
Do not allow your emotions to sabotage a negotiation. Be mindful of the way you disagree, and don’t respond emotionally when provoked. It is important to manage your ego and control your facial expressions. Maintaining eye contact when making a key point shows commitment.
Looking down or away relays a message of discomfort, which can be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Managing any nervous habit is also highly recommended. Astute and experienced negotiators study body language and use their skills to gain an advantage if they can read discomfort. Practicing a poker face is a good idea prior to any negotiation.
Do your research. Take a deep breath and slow down. Enjoy the silence. Bear in mind your negotiation is business and nothing requires you to be emotional. Use your negotiation skills and you’re sure to arrive at an agreement that works for you.
The author, Kristin Peters, works as a purchasing agent and has shared many articles using the knowledge she gained through negotiation skills training to help others better understand how to use such skills to their benefit.