Negotiation Tips for the Uncomfortable

Life is a constant series of negotiations – basically, one person is trying to persuade another. A big misconception about persuasion is that it is meant to create a win-lose situation. It’s not. Persuasion is a way to guide another person to adopting an idea, action or attitude by means other than force. All human relationships involve persuasion and negotiation: anytime you suggest an activity to your friends, you attempt to persuade them to participate and there’s negotiation until you all agree on what to do. Anytime you are in a business negotiation, you are attempting to persuade the other person to see things your way and come to a mutual agreement.

Of course sales involve persuasion, but what makes certain salespeople great while others struggle? A good salesperson is committed to a win-win situation (both the customer’s and the salesperson’s needs are met).

Here are some negotiation tips that will make the process easier even if you’re intensely uncomfortable with it:

1. Bring a positive win-win mindset to the table. Do not think of the other party as your “opponent” – that sets you up for a win-lose scenario. Instead, think of it as two people trying to help each other. Don’t get sucked into a competitive mindset. Negotiations are more pleasant and comfortable when you aim for a win-win.

2. Be clear on your goals. You have to know what you want to take away from the negotiation. This includes your needs and your wants (not the same thing). However, be flexible. Don’t be too attached to a specific outcome. Remain emotionally detached. Then you’ll be more likely to make rational instead of emotional decisions.

3. Be prepared. Know your facts be able to show evidence. Always demand the same from the other party.

4. Be patient. Negotiations should never be rushed, and emotions may be high leading to hasty decisions. Ride out those emotional waves and respond – do not react – calmly.

5. Be resilient under pressure. The other party may try every trick in the book to influence your emotions. Stay calm and in control of your emotions at all times.

6. Create a rapport by mirroring the other person’s speech and body language and by listening effectively. Don’t just hear the words, hear what is beneath the words. Listen to the real needs this person is trying to express through their words and phrasing. Not everyone is good at speaking with clarity. When in doubt, ask, or paraphrase what was said. Always acknowledge understanding (not the same as agreement).

7. Communicate clearly and concisely. Remember that your body language is important too!

8. Think critically and creatively. Actively look for areas of potential agreement and focus on those; often, areas of disagreement will fall into place when you focus on what you can agree on. Find shared problems and work together to solve them.

There are many subtle negotiating techniques too complex to go into here – but above all, if you are clear on your goals, and you aim to create a win-win situation, you’ll be more likely to walk away from the negotiation satisfied.


Inspired by Adam Sicinski’s post on:

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