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Become a Better Negotiator

By August 1, 2018No Comments
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The best negotiations are where all parties walk away happy. If a negotiation has a clear winner, that means someone is the opposite. For entrepreneurs, negotiating is part of life. Regardless of industry, bargains and deals are struck each day. Some have minor consequences while others can involve multi-million-dollar scenarios. Negotiations happen during interviews, while signing contracts, and anywhere compromises are made. For those negotiating successfully, growth often follows.

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For some, negotiating can be little intimidating.  Approaching the table, vision narrows.  A beating heart overwhelms the eardrums and the room feels 50 degrees warmer.  Fight or flight kicks in and it’s telling you it’s time to go…and the negotiation is just beginning.  If that sounds familiar, there’s good news.  Great negotiators are made.  More than that they are self-made and it all starts with getting a grasp on the basics.  Next time you take a seat at the negotiation table, go in strong.

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Preparing for Negotiations

Before entering your next negotiation, prepare ahead of time.  Negotiations can be lengthy, intense, and may include the unexpected.  Preparing ahead of time creates a foundation to start from and a touchstone during the negotiating process.

Establish clear, attainable objectives.

The first step towards achieving more during negotiations is defining objectives.  This will help establish criteria for goal achievement.  With goals outlined, drafting strategies for approaching them will be simpler.

Create several strategies for pursuing goals

Create a thoughtful strategy for approaching your goal.  Then create another, and so on until you have a number of options to draw from.  Negotiations are compromises between two or more parties.  It’s possible to plan for your own responses yet others may prove elusive.  With multiple strategies, entrepreneurs have increased flexibility for responding to the unpredictable human factor.

Get to know yourself.

Success starts within.  While impossible to control or predict the actions of others in a negotiation, you can control how you respond to them.  A self-evaluation can help spot personal habits that may create challenges during negotiations.  This is a good time to stow the ego as egos seldom aid negotiations, often having the opposite effect instead.

Get to know what you’re facing.

Negotiations have some of the best outcomes when approached as opportunities for mutual success.  Still, it’s impossible to predict the motivations of the other people at the table.  Some prefer to enter negotiations like a high-stakes poker tournament.  Complete the homework ahead of time to help prepare for negotiations.

Negotiating Effectively

The setting and formality of negotiations will vary.  Negotiators may withhold or misrepresent information during talks, and that’s normal.  There are variables that may extend beyond your grasp.  Rather than worrying about those, think about what you can control.

Make the first move.

Most compromises involve trading concessions to eventually come to a final figure or agreement.  The person to place the first figure or starting point on the table has more control to dictate the final outcome.  Sellers and buyers can better manipulate figures in their favor by acting first.

Know when to be quiet.

In some cases, people can negotiate themselves right out of a good deal.  For many, nervousness leads to talkative behavior and loose lips still sink ships.  In a negotiation, the chatterbox could be you or the other negotiator.  For those with a tendency for chattiness, learning how to be quiet at the right times can save you from making unnecessary concessions.  On the opposite end, if the other negotiator starts to give too much away, remaining silent can help sweeten the deal in your favor.

Be mindful of body language.

Nervous tics come in many forms.  Some may be hard to notice while others can be a little embarrassing.  During negotiations, try to be mindful of limbs, stance, and body motions.  Body language can send signals to the other negotiators.  Inwardly, an awkward moment can cause personal embarrassment, derailing a strategy.

Don’t concede, compromise.

During negotiations, the other party may ask for concessions.  Any time you give something away during a business negotiation, be sure to get something in return.  Rather than give in to concessions, strive to find a compromise benefiting both parties.

Evaluating Negotiations

The best negotiations leave both parties feeling satisfied.  Still, there may be ways to improve upon each experience for the next time.  Following a negotiation, reflect on your actions and the outcome.  There may be opportunities to improve the planning process or execute a better negotiation technique.  For those negotiating with groups, colleagues can be an excellent source of feedback.  Regardless of the outcome, a negotiation is a success if it helps you become a stronger negotiator.  Apply the lessons learned towards negotiating greater success in the future.

Becoming a great negotiator starts with the fundamentals.  Check back often for more tips on getting the most from your business.  To access other intelligent financial insights for business and family, visit or call us at 847-292-4475.

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.