Daily life Negotiations:
Interaction is a big part of our daily life, and in the process, we often come across conflicting opinions. Everyone desires to satisfy their own terms, but the eventual winner in such a situation is the one who negotiates best. As part of our daily routine, we negotiate with friends, family, landlords, employers etc. without even realizing it. Negotiations also play a huge role in the corporate sector – where no business can survive without profitable contracts.
Negotiation, simply put, is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
This article discusses the various skills and strategies one should ideally possess in order to be a better negotiator.
To become better at negotiating, one must always keep these points in mind:
A good negotiator must always carry a certain level of confidence along with her/him. Psychology says that the human mind is more likely to get influenced by a confident person, than a person who isn’t very sure of what (s)he’s doing.
Having a Negotiator’s mindset
- Listening Skills: Every good negotiator has been found to have one common trait – they listen to the other side. It helps them frame strategies better to convince the others into making the deal.
- Speaking and manipulative skills: It’s really important to be a good orator to be successful in striking deals. Another very, very important tool is manipulative skills. It brings you back into the game if, and when you’ve messed up the argument on your part.
- Patience: A good negotiator is also patient, and doesn’t lose his cool when things don’t work out well.
- Understanding the other perspective: Understanding the other side’s mindset and framing strategies accordingly is what differentiates a good negotiator from a not so good one. Good negotiators never attach themselves to a specific outcome – this makes them emotionally involved, and leads to hurried (mostly wrong) decisions.
There are 2 types of negotiations. The first one being Position Based – wherein both sides decide their positions (i.e. price, shares etc.) and argue on it. The other one is Interest Based – where both sides mainly aim at creating a win-win situation, more like “I get what I want without taking away what you want”.
Before getting into a negotiation, there are certain very important things one must keep in mind:
- Always take time into consideration – If say, it takes 10 hours to complete a Rs. 1000 worth negotiation; then you’re technically reducing your own worth to Rs. 100 per hour – which doesn’t make sense at all.
- Do your homework well when it comes to Cross-Cultural negotiations – Be sensitive to culture, but don’t stereotype. Every culture has variations in negotiation styles, and to strike the best deal, one must learn to adopt the other culture well.
- Be sure whether to lie or not when you negotiate. Lying becomes an ethical issue, and it makes sense to lie only if it gives you a better stand (ethically) in the deal. Deciding whether or not to lie also depends heavily on the kind rapport you have with the people involved.
- Avoid talking about things you love – else you’ll end up getting carried away, talking too much off the main topic of discussion.
- Ask a lot of questions to the other side. People often enjoy talking about themselves, and get more comfortable with you, when they do so. This opens new avenues for negotiations, and even beyond it.
- While negotiating over something whose value is uncertain, always try and Anchor the price (i.e. try to put forward your price offering first). This sets up a base for the discussion, and gives the other side an idea about the negotiated product/service’s price. This works mostly in favour of the anchor, because he gets the privilege to manipulate the base price.
- Always assess your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) – in simple terms, it is having a plan B, in case plan A doesn’t work out.
It’s important to be fair while negotiating. As an example, say Person A gets Rs. 1000 to divide among A and B – the only rule being, if B refuses the divide of the money, no one gets it. Now if A decides to keep Rs. 900 and gives B Rs. 100, B is most likely to refuse, and would prefer no one getting the money than being unfair and giving A Rs. 900.
Alternatively, if A on a random day walks up to B and gives him Rs. 100, there are cent-percent chances that B will accept the money.
The amount of money remains exactly the same, but the situation changes. This fairness rule applies to Negotiations very similarly, wherein everyone wants (or at least wants to be made felt that they have) their equal share.
A good negotiator needs to be witty, should have great sense of timing, should be well prepared for adverse situations, and should also be ready to deal with failure.
Skill in negotiation is striking a deal for what you want, and simultaneously building good and healthy relationships with the other side. The best kind of negotiation is barter, a situation where both sides get what they want, resulting in a win-win situation.
‘Negotiation is the Art of letting the other side have it your way’