Our Commercial Director spent 4 years working in negotiation consultancies, where he completed consultant training and ran a global negotiation training program. Here are his top 5 tips suitable for any negotiation:
1. Set clearly defined objectives
What is your optimal outcome?
- For the next interaction and the overall engagement?
- Think short, mid and long term.
- Now every decision you make must be made with your objectives in mind.
2. Plan properly
Proper planning will govern over 80% of the outcome.
- What are the other parties drivers?
- What are your negotiation ranges?
- What is your walk away point?
- What are your alternatives?
- What concessions are you willing to trade?
- Where, when & how will help you the most?
- Rehearse every possible scenario and you wont be surprised!
3. Be process aware
He or she that controls the process, controls the outcome.
- Process is how you manage the interaction itself – the place, the timings, your communication style, when to take a break etc.
- A lot of negotiators focus on the content (or what they are negotiating about), giving those who are more process aware the advantage.Build common ground
4. Build common ground
Always look for and build common ground if you seek an agreement.
- Look for things that bring the parties together and focus on those first. Building a spirit of agreement will make it easier to overcome any points of contention later.
- If you focus on areas of disagreement first, it is likely that those positions will become more firmly entrenched making agreement less likely.
5. Control your emotions
Is your communication style best suited to the outcome you are trying to achieve?
- Skilled negotiators change their communication style to suit the outcome they are trying to achieve.
- Ask yourself what communication style the other party is using and you can better counter it.
- If your emotions are not helping your towards your objective, take a break.
- Always ask yourself what are the true drivers of the other parties decision making? What aren’t they telling you?
- Never give away a concession for free! Always make sure you get something in return, no matter how small. Remember a concession can be content or process related.
- Every interaction you have is a influencing opportunity that will effect the outcome.