We all learned to negotiate as children. Depending on who we learned from, we either learned that success meant win – win or win- lose. Competition is healthy and there are occasions where one needs to ‘win.’ The Olympics — for instance. That’s not a negotiation, that’s a competition.
We do refer to the other companies in our industry as our ‘competition’ but that doesn’t mean that we crush them in every circumstance… particularly if that doesn’t serve our customers. Personally, we probably negotiate 10-20 times a day (even more if you have children or employees).
You may be unaware of your approach to negotiation. A good start is to pay attention to your words, attitude and mind set going in and coming out of negotiations for one whole day. Take some notes.
Here are a few steps to help you become a more aware negotiator.
1) Physically stand or sit next to the person. This sends an important signal that you are open and ‘on the same side.’ Does this work when you are disciplining? Only if it’s really a negotiation. By the way, pay attention to body language, your own and the other person’s.
2) Actively listen to the other person. Repeat back what they are saying so they know they are being heard.
3) Be sure to explain the why something needs to happen. While this isn’t always possible, it is really important for buy in and builds trust.
4) It’s not personal. The best negotiations keep the ‘personal’ out of it.
5) What’s the path forward? Are there alternatives in case of contingencies? These small steps build trust.
It can be fun to learn new skills.. and become more effective. Dig in and create that win/win.