Lots of negotiations get off to the wrong start because the parties involved have not taken the time to define clearly the areas where they disagree.
1. First Agree on the terms and scope of the dispute
Very often, parties will rush towards gaining positional advantage over what they see the main issue to be; but before there is a real agreement on which issues are at stake, no real agreement is possible.
To increase your negotiation skills, the following are to consider:
- Define where all parties agree and disagree the main sticking points become apparent and areas of possible agreement come to light.
- Discover possible areas of agreement, it sets a more balanced tone as all parties proceed further.
- Define the scope of the dispute, you have already begun to take subtle control of the following negotiation process
2. Do not be psychologically manipulated when negotiating.
Do you become psychologically disadvantaged when negotiating? Are you aware that smart people do dumb things because they are psychologically manipulated when negotiating?
Do you know how such psychological manipulation occurs and how to prevent it from happening to you?
If you would like to insulate yourself from ploys that can lead to psychological discourse in your negotiations, the following five points are a few reasons why some people are roused when negotiating.
- Lack of negotiation strategy: Anytime anyone enters into a negotiation without a strategy as to how they will possibly achieve their goals, they enter the negotiation unprepared.
Before entering into any negotiation, take the time to develop a strategy that can lead to achieving the goals of the negotiation.
- Lack of discipline: Know your exit points in a negotiation, what should trigger those points, and don’t be manipulated by becoming emotionally tied to a position or involved in the negotiation to the one you can’t exit.
You can be drawn deeper into a negotiation, due to your zeal to achieve the goals of the negotiation. Know when to stop and do so at the point you have set.
- Time as a factor: Be aware of the pressures time places upon you in a negotiation.
Always remember, the more time you invest in a negotiation, psychologically, the more you will become engaged and want to see the negotiation to its conclusion.
You may be motivated psychologically to do so, even if it means you commit acts that are detrimental to your negotiation position.
- Image: In a best-case scenario, you should desire to negotiate in an environment that’s conducive to your style and manner of negotiating, and one in which you can be viewed with reverence, you have already begun to create a subliminal impression from which you can be in command of the negotiation.
- Combativeness: When engaged in a negotiation, some negotiations allow their egos to become inflated.
In doing so, some fall into the trap of being manipulated by either thinking the only way to win is by defeated the other negotiators. Thus, they overlook possible situations in which compromise may lie.
Such thoughts can be stimulated by the belief that they are not viewed by the other negotiated with the deference they deserved. So, they adopt a, “I will show you” mentally.
Always remember the cliché, “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day”. Don’t be caught by this psychology of expediting your demise.
3. See yourself from the other party’s point of view (1)
“Empathy” does not mean soft, emotional feelings of affection. It means the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, to see world from his/her point of view.
Empathy does not require “sympathy,” it only requires understanding
You can agree or disagree with whatever the other party sees or believes, but you will do well to understand it.
By understanding it, you will have the advantage in knowing how to prevent what you seek as a fair outcome in terms that the other party will be able to accept and understand, rather than fear.
4. See the other party from their point of view (II)
You will be most successful if can advance your position so the other party can still maintain their “ego” or the beliefs they hold most important.
“Tact is the ability to see others as they see themselves”: Abraham Lincoln
If, for example, the other parties see themselves as tough negotiation find ways during the process to emphasise their toughness directly or indirectly, especially when you are making progress in advancing your position.
5. Be honest and get your facts right
You can’t negotiate successfully if you lose or lack credibility. Never knowingly make a false statement or assertion, but even that is not enough.
Very often, successfully negotiation comes down to having more and more accurate, information than the other party.
For that reason, be sure to do your homework, so that you can speak of many facets of the issues at hand confidence.
6. Use silence to your advantage
Loud displays or “blowing off steam” will almost always work to your disadvantage.
Experienced negotiators who use such styles know to feign such emotions at strategic points in time, in a purposeful fashion. So stay cool.
A corollary to this rule involves the use of silence. It is a natural human reaction, especially during conflict, to try to fill up silence due to anxiety.
But anxious people during negotiations tend to say things that erode their positions. By being silent at the right moments, you can give the owner another party a chance to:
- See your strength
- Give voice to the thoughts behind their stated positions, so if they are secretly giving in on the inside, you give them a chance to do it for real.
7. Find some objective, fair standards all sides can agree upon
Take the initiative early on to stake out some fair standard against which any final solution can be judged.
Tell the other party you want to come to a fair solution that maximizes the outcome for both of you, and propose some standard against which the results can be measured.
If, for example, you are selling your car, you may want to use the Kelly Blue Book, especially since Blue Book values tend to be slightly higher than those found in other such sources.
This resource favours the seller, but is still a recognized, fair standard.
By setting the standards for final judgement of the solution, you should frame the issues, take greater control of the process, frame the standard to you advantage and set the stage to win.
Doing all these things won’t make you an expert negotiator, but practicing these negotiation skills will make you stronger and help you learn lessons the experienced pros have discovered through lots of trial and error.