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Tips for negotiating well


Negotiating is a skill that is essential in almost any aspect of life. It is necessary in familial disputes, purchasing arrangements, and, of course, in the workplace. It is not, however, a skill that comes easily to just anyone. So here are some tips to help you learn to negotiate well.

1. Men and women are different! This is one of the most important tips you could ever learn about negotiating. Communication styles between men and women are so different, and therefore you can not approach a woman expecting to negotiate the way you would with a man (and vice versa). Keep your communication direct by sharing ideas, treating negotiations as collaboration not confrontation, and remaining respectful no matter what.

2. Use mentors. A good mentor can help you refine your negotiation skills. As you will be negotiation with people of different genders, races, and all areas of life, choose a mentor who has a different point of view from your own. Then practice negotiating with that mentor.
3. Don't be emotional. Even if the topic of negotiation is an emotional one to you, do your best to keep your emotions in check. Getting fired-up and feisty about something usually only deters the other party from giving you what you want. Try being calm and direct instead.
4. Pay attention to body language. The way the other person is standing, sitting, looking, breathing, etc. can offer you significant clues about how they're feeling with the arrangement thus far. Look for signs that say "I like that idea" or "I could live with that" like relaxed posture, content facial expression, or involved conversation. Look for signs that say "I'm not ok with that" or "What a horrible idea" like rigid posture, irritated facial expressions, or distracted, nervous glances. Be sure that you also exhibit the appropriate body language for what you're thinking or feeling at the time.
5. Stay focused. Remember exactly what it is that you're negotiating for. Sometimes negotiations can get off track with the little details involved. But if you keep your eye on the end goal, you'll be sure to have a better negotiation process.
6. Let the other side speak. Although your purpose is to get what you want, you must also give your other half the chance to explain their needs and wants. This is a basic principle of good communication. Don't interrupt. Don't cut the other speaker off. Don't cringe or exhibit other forms of rude body language as the other side explains their point of view. Once they have finished their turn, then you may address things that you found disturbing or unacceptable.
7. Be prepared. Do your research on your goals and the goals of the other side. Gather relevant information about what kinds of questions or problems the other group may bring up. If you're prepared with good answers to their questions, you will be much more likely to end up with your goal.
8. Don't agree all at once. Unless you know for sure that the negotiation has reached your goal, don't agree too soon. Negotiation does not have to be a 10 minute event. One conversation may not be enough to end in a final decision. Be prepared to tell the other side "let me think about it and get back to you in 24 hours."

You'll find that learning to incorporate these skills will greatly improve your ability to negotiate well. You'll be able to negotiate faster and more effectively. Your co-negotiator will discover that you really know how to show them respect and in the future you'll be able to negotiate even more successfully with that person.

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