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May 1, 2014

3 Ways to Level Up Negotiations by Year’s End

Business

Jeff Cochran

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It is vital in today’s business world to have strong negotiation skills and continue to strengthen them. Besides negotiations training, there are a number of ways for everyone, including highly successful negotiators, to improve his or her negotiation skills. Several things that can improve your existing negotiation skill set are to develop stronger communication skills, display more confidence and to more clearly identify commonalities between opposing parties.

Employ Strong Communication

Good communication is about more than knowing just the right thing to say. It is also about knowing when to listen and when not to say anything at all. If you ask the other party a question during the negotiation process, be quiet and allow him or her the appropriate time to respond. Actively listening to responses allows you to better understand the person’s position, and can help you to better negotiate an agreement acceptable to all parties involved. If a person responds with an objection or complaint, show you are listening by acknowledging you’ve understood their concern. You can then counter the objection, in the hopes of moving the conversation forward, rather than ending the discussion and stopping any further negotiation.

Look for Things in Common

If you come away from a negotiation without having understood the other party’s priorities or needs, you may be walking away with a failed negotiation. Not only do you need to understand the other party’s priorities and needs in some fashion, but you also need to identify ways in which you have something in common with him or her. When you identify commonalities and negotiate from a shared understanding, you are more likely to achieve outcomes that are acceptable to all parties involved. It is often harder for someone to say no to someone they identify themselves as having something in common with. Parties aligned with one another in some fashion typically find it easier to agree than parties that are in complete opposition.

Display Confidence

A key trait to demonstrate during a negotiation is confidence. If you don’t display confidence, you run the risk of coming across as weak are less likely to achieve the desired outcome. The other parties may be disinclined to make necessary concessions or may believe they can push their desired result right over your proposed solution. One trick to coming across as confident is to maintain eye contact during negotiations. Another tip is to monitor your tone of voice. Sounding hesitant, timid, or using words that pause the conversation like “um” or “ah” will make you seem less than confident. Speak clearly and be sure of your words to display confidence during negotiations and enhance your chances for success.

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