Today I wanted to present five quick tips to help you strengthen your negotiation skills. After all we are negotiating virtually all the time, whether we realize it or not. Don’t believe me, the next time you speak with anyone, friend, spouse, supplier, police officer (!), consider your discussions and any areas where you may be attempting to sway the opinion or position of the other party. Believe me, you are negotiating all the time.
Here are five quick tips to help you improve your chances of achieving your desired outcomes:
1. Learn to identify the negotiation behavior of the other party. Are they willing to collaborate or compromise, or are they stuck in a position and apparently unwilling to move.
2. Understand your preferential negotiation style (officially there are four, but for our purposes consider that you are either willing to compromise; seeking to collaborate; or willing to compete to win!).
3. Try out a new style! I quickly transfer from a suit for business purposes, to a t-shirt and shorts to lounge on the deck. Everyone changes cloths and styles in order to meet their objectives, be it to impress others; to blend into a crowd; or to be comfortable. We all have that 1 pair of jeans that we wear repeatedly don’t we? Considering the negotiation styles in item #2, try out a new style to see what type of results you achieve. Trust me, this is challenging!
4. Interchange negotiation styles during one conversation. Take a negotiation that is not life critical (i.e. convincing your kids to take the garbage out) and try navigating from a collaborative style to a compete style, then back to collaborative. Determine which style achieves the best results based on the style of your opponent. This is very difficult to do as we tend to want to defer back to our preferred style, however having the ability to change styles in the heat of a negotiation is critical to success.
5. Put it all together. Now that you have mastered the above, take a more difficult negotiation (a raise from your boss), and ensuring you stay focused in the moment, try using all five of these tips. More specifically listen and determine the style the other is using, then adjust your style to counter act depending on the message you want to portray. What are the best styles to apply you might ask, well here is a few examples, although every person and situation can be quite different (hence why listening is so important!)
- If the other person is a collaborator – be collaborative to find a quick resolution.
- If the other person is competitive and firm – fluctuate between compete and compromise to alter their style and reach resolution.
- If the other person seeks compromise – slowly compromise starting with your most undesirable items or position (don’t give away the farm!)
Try these steps in harmless settings and make them fun. Consider after all that if you are in negotiations, the other person is just as interested in reaching an outcome as you.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.