Sunday, March 30, 2014

The ART of Negotiation

The art of negotiation is imperative for relationships to run smoothly, for successful entrepreneurship, and for everyday interactions. It involves the ability to express ideas and navigate several factors that are at once intellectual and creative. The key tips below will help you understand this dynamic process.

“A” - Acceptance: Negotiation often begins at the point where you or someone else does not accept or agree with something. In either case, you are tasked with accepting that the person or entity that you are communicating with has ideas and opinions you must consider. You may also be tasked with accepting a portion of what you do not agree with so that you can negotiate for a larger portion of what you want. For example, if you want 50% increases in salary and better health benefits for your employees, be prepared with a lower percentage for the salary increase if the health benefits offered are extremely good. Bottom line: present what you want in such a way that it directly corresponds to what is already accepted by all parties!

“R” - Reason: Appealing to reason is an essential component in the art of negotiation. Reason can be achieved through induction (small idea/concept that flows into big idea/concept), deduction (big idea/concept that flows into small idea/concept), simple “if-then” statements, proven examples, and even practical comparisons. If what you want makes reasonable sense in a number of ways, the person you are interacting with will find it much more difficult to disagree with you, which will in-turn make them much more willing to negotiate on your reasonable terms!

“T” - Tact: Tact is a primary factor of negotiation and an art in itself. Tact can mean speaking professionally, directly, or subtly, depending on the situation and the person. For example, some people like to get straight to the point and feel stressed-out when others “beat around the bush.” On the other hand, some people prefer to have information come at them slowly so that all of the pieces fit. The key to practicing effective tact during negotiation is to understand how the person you are dealing with thinks and reacts. If you do not know the person, body movements (such as bouncing legs for impatient people) and speech patterns (such as labored speech for heavy analyzers) can indicate specific personality traits to help you express the right amount and sort of tact at the right time!

Please share on social media if you found this post helpful. If you have a comment or question I would be happy to discuss.

Recommended reading: The Art of Negotiation by Michael Wheeler A member of the world-renowned Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. 

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