Improving Your Negotiating Skills

Reviewed Jul 19, 2015

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Summary

Negotiations at work

  • can be inside or outside your organization
  • require practice and preparation
  • have essential elements and phases

Your negotiating skills—or lack of negotiating skills—can determine whether you get the raise you’ve been waiting for, land an important contract or resolve a dispute with a co-worker. Those are some striking examples, but consider the role negotiation plays in your daily work routine. Chances are you have to negotiate some issue every day, even if it’s quick and subtle, such as fixing a mistake in an order. Improving your negotiating skills can help ensure success at work—and eliminate a lot of frustration.

Different kinds of negotiation

First, take an inventory of the different kinds of negotiation you might engage in, with people both inside and outside of your organization. Check out these examples.

Inside your organization

These situations can prove especially delicate since they often involve people with whom you work every day:

  • getting an extension for a proposal or project deadline
  • asking for different or greater responsibilities
  • requesting a promotion or pay raise
  • trying a new business process
  • getting or making an exception to a company policy
  • scheduling vacation time, especially during a busy holiday season

Outside your organization

If you work with vendors or deal with clients on a regular basis, you might use negotiating skills in these situations:

  • changing delivery dates for an order or deliverable
  • modifying a statement of work
  • scheduling a sales meeting with a client or landing a sale with a new client
  • improving a vendor’s service
  • placing an order or discussing the price of an order

The anatomy of a good negotiator

Good negotiators are practiced negotiators. You don’t have to be born with negotiating skills; you can learn them. To get what you want, you need:

  • motivation, creativity and versatility
  • to remember that everything is negotiable
  • the ability to walk away from a deal
  • to recognize deceptive language from the other side that could weaken your argument, and counter it. Watch out for unidentified sources, overgeneralizations, “fuzzy” language that leaves loopholes, numbers that don’t add up or that add extra charges, useless analogies and the citing of authority to force a point.

Preparing for successful negotiation

Any negotiation has a few essential elements, and often negotiations have distinct phases.

  • Investigation. Preparation is the most important part of a successful negotiation. For example, if you’re working on a proposal, define your audience, identify your objective and needs to be met, outline your plan and analyze whether it connects with needs and benefits. In all cases, gather statistics, precedents, documents and other supporting evidence, know the facts and organize your pitch.
  • Presentation. Be the one to pick the time and place for the negotiation. Once you begin, watch for body language or verbal cues that can help you recognize whether the other party seems interested and agreeable.
  • Bargaining. Once you’ve made your pitch, seek common ground early in the negotiation. You can keep control of the process by asking questions and listening carefully to the responses to learn how you can strengthen your argument. Periodically summarize progress to make sure both parties agree. Keep time on your side; intense time pressure will weaken your argument.
  • Agreement. Don’t act too quickly by giving away too much, and don’t give concessions without getting something in return. Be prepared to say “no” to a deal, but if you reach agreement, make sure to keep your end of the bargain.    

Resources

The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 2007.

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life by Stuart Diamond. Crown Business, 2012. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: Business 2.0, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/; Entrepreneur.com, www.entrepreneur.com; Greer Group, www.greergroup.com; Bob Bly: Copywriter and Consultant, www.bly.com; The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 1997; Business Negotiating Basics by Peter Economy. Irwin, 1994; Creative Negotiating by Stephen Kozicki. Adams Media, 1998.

Summary

Negotiations at work

  • can be inside or outside your organization
  • require practice and preparation
  • have essential elements and phases

Your negotiating skills—or lack of negotiating skills—can determine whether you get the raise you’ve been waiting for, land an important contract or resolve a dispute with a co-worker. Those are some striking examples, but consider the role negotiation plays in your daily work routine. Chances are you have to negotiate some issue every day, even if it’s quick and subtle, such as fixing a mistake in an order. Improving your negotiating skills can help ensure success at work—and eliminate a lot of frustration.

Different kinds of negotiation

First, take an inventory of the different kinds of negotiation you might engage in, with people both inside and outside of your organization. Check out these examples.

Inside your organization

These situations can prove especially delicate since they often involve people with whom you work every day:

  • getting an extension for a proposal or project deadline
  • asking for different or greater responsibilities
  • requesting a promotion or pay raise
  • trying a new business process
  • getting or making an exception to a company policy
  • scheduling vacation time, especially during a busy holiday season

Outside your organization

If you work with vendors or deal with clients on a regular basis, you might use negotiating skills in these situations:

  • changing delivery dates for an order or deliverable
  • modifying a statement of work
  • scheduling a sales meeting with a client or landing a sale with a new client
  • improving a vendor’s service
  • placing an order or discussing the price of an order

The anatomy of a good negotiator

Good negotiators are practiced negotiators. You don’t have to be born with negotiating skills; you can learn them. To get what you want, you need:

  • motivation, creativity and versatility
  • to remember that everything is negotiable
  • the ability to walk away from a deal
  • to recognize deceptive language from the other side that could weaken your argument, and counter it. Watch out for unidentified sources, overgeneralizations, “fuzzy” language that leaves loopholes, numbers that don’t add up or that add extra charges, useless analogies and the citing of authority to force a point.

Preparing for successful negotiation

Any negotiation has a few essential elements, and often negotiations have distinct phases.

  • Investigation. Preparation is the most important part of a successful negotiation. For example, if you’re working on a proposal, define your audience, identify your objective and needs to be met, outline your plan and analyze whether it connects with needs and benefits. In all cases, gather statistics, precedents, documents and other supporting evidence, know the facts and organize your pitch.
  • Presentation. Be the one to pick the time and place for the negotiation. Once you begin, watch for body language or verbal cues that can help you recognize whether the other party seems interested and agreeable.
  • Bargaining. Once you’ve made your pitch, seek common ground early in the negotiation. You can keep control of the process by asking questions and listening carefully to the responses to learn how you can strengthen your argument. Periodically summarize progress to make sure both parties agree. Keep time on your side; intense time pressure will weaken your argument.
  • Agreement. Don’t act too quickly by giving away too much, and don’t give concessions without getting something in return. Be prepared to say “no” to a deal, but if you reach agreement, make sure to keep your end of the bargain.    

Resources

The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 2007.

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life by Stuart Diamond. Crown Business, 2012. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: Business 2.0, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/; Entrepreneur.com, www.entrepreneur.com; Greer Group, www.greergroup.com; Bob Bly: Copywriter and Consultant, www.bly.com; The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 1997; Business Negotiating Basics by Peter Economy. Irwin, 1994; Creative Negotiating by Stephen Kozicki. Adams Media, 1998.

Summary

Negotiations at work

  • can be inside or outside your organization
  • require practice and preparation
  • have essential elements and phases

Your negotiating skills—or lack of negotiating skills—can determine whether you get the raise you’ve been waiting for, land an important contract or resolve a dispute with a co-worker. Those are some striking examples, but consider the role negotiation plays in your daily work routine. Chances are you have to negotiate some issue every day, even if it’s quick and subtle, such as fixing a mistake in an order. Improving your negotiating skills can help ensure success at work—and eliminate a lot of frustration.

Different kinds of negotiation

First, take an inventory of the different kinds of negotiation you might engage in, with people both inside and outside of your organization. Check out these examples.

Inside your organization

These situations can prove especially delicate since they often involve people with whom you work every day:

  • getting an extension for a proposal or project deadline
  • asking for different or greater responsibilities
  • requesting a promotion or pay raise
  • trying a new business process
  • getting or making an exception to a company policy
  • scheduling vacation time, especially during a busy holiday season

Outside your organization

If you work with vendors or deal with clients on a regular basis, you might use negotiating skills in these situations:

  • changing delivery dates for an order or deliverable
  • modifying a statement of work
  • scheduling a sales meeting with a client or landing a sale with a new client
  • improving a vendor’s service
  • placing an order or discussing the price of an order

The anatomy of a good negotiator

Good negotiators are practiced negotiators. You don’t have to be born with negotiating skills; you can learn them. To get what you want, you need:

  • motivation, creativity and versatility
  • to remember that everything is negotiable
  • the ability to walk away from a deal
  • to recognize deceptive language from the other side that could weaken your argument, and counter it. Watch out for unidentified sources, overgeneralizations, “fuzzy” language that leaves loopholes, numbers that don’t add up or that add extra charges, useless analogies and the citing of authority to force a point.

Preparing for successful negotiation

Any negotiation has a few essential elements, and often negotiations have distinct phases.

  • Investigation. Preparation is the most important part of a successful negotiation. For example, if you’re working on a proposal, define your audience, identify your objective and needs to be met, outline your plan and analyze whether it connects with needs and benefits. In all cases, gather statistics, precedents, documents and other supporting evidence, know the facts and organize your pitch.
  • Presentation. Be the one to pick the time and place for the negotiation. Once you begin, watch for body language or verbal cues that can help you recognize whether the other party seems interested and agreeable.
  • Bargaining. Once you’ve made your pitch, seek common ground early in the negotiation. You can keep control of the process by asking questions and listening carefully to the responses to learn how you can strengthen your argument. Periodically summarize progress to make sure both parties agree. Keep time on your side; intense time pressure will weaken your argument.
  • Agreement. Don’t act too quickly by giving away too much, and don’t give concessions without getting something in return. Be prepared to say “no” to a deal, but if you reach agreement, make sure to keep your end of the bargain.    

Resources

The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 2007.

Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life by Stuart Diamond. Crown Business, 2012. 

By Kristen Knight
Source: Business 2.0, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/; Entrepreneur.com, www.entrepreneur.com; Greer Group, www.greergroup.com; Bob Bly: Copywriter and Consultant, www.bly.com; The Anatomy of Persuasion by Norbert Aubuchon. AMACOM, 1997; Business Negotiating Basics by Peter Economy. Irwin, 1994; Creative Negotiating by Stephen Kozicki. Adams Media, 1998.

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The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please consider contacting your human resources department. ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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