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5 Unique secrets to improve your negotiation skills

There are lots of benefits to having sharp negotiation skills


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Having excellent negotiation skills at your disposal is useful in any work situation. If you can negotiate an outcome that’s acceptable to both parties, that's powerful. Negotiation skills help you succeed in various ways. 

Here are a few benefits of having sharp negotiation skills: 

  • Raises
  • Employee layoffs
  • Changes in work schedules
  • Setting up contracts
  • Conflict resolutions
  • Negotiations

In this article, we reveal five secrets that will help you negotiate like a pro.

No. 1: Understand your audience

It’s tough to negotiate if you don’t know your audience. That’s why you should ask what the other party’s needs are and figure out how they communicate.

For example, a group of analytical people may want a lot of detailed information about the deal. In contrast, intuitive people who have a general knowledge of the topic won’t need as much information. 

Some people will be more visual and respond better to presentations with pictures, whereas a verbal group will look for thorough explanations and a reiteration of goals. 

As you negotiate, take the time to understand everyone. The meeting will run more smoothly, and the project should flow well.

No. 2: Find a solution that works for everyone

Do your best to figure out the needs of the other party. Show empathy but at the same time, make it clear what you would like to achieve. Once you both have a goal, you can work together to get a desirable outcome. But don't be deceived. Sometimes people may not be honest about what they want, whether intentional or not. If that should happen, you may need to take a break. 

The goal is for both parties to remain happy, so figure out a solution. Always keep your bottom line at the forefront of your mind. One or both groups of people may need to do some compromising to make the negotiation work. 

No. 3: Focus on your body language 

The majority of negotiations are face-to-face. When in-person, everything you say will also show in your body language. 

Sometimes it’s hard to control your mannerisms, but practice makes perfect.

Here are a few positive ways to use your body language to your advantage

  • Have good posture — relaxed without slouching
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Don’t touch your face 
  • Use a firm handshake

Negotiations can get stressful, so during a challenging discussion, try to prevent negative facial expressions. To do this, reign in the negative thoughts and force yourself to smile. 

Smiling, even during a negotiation, can relax other people in the group and help them refocus.

No. 4: Set a timeframe right away

Right from the beginning, decide on a negotiation time frame. It'll set the stage and keep things on task. 

A negotiation can go on for quite a while, and it’s a waste of time if nothing gets resolved.

To achieve a successful outcome, set a time frame before negotiations begin. That way, the other party won’t feel like they have all the time in the world to decide.                                               

After you decide on a time limit, you’ll also know how quickly to move things along. 

No. 5: Don’t be afraid to walk away 

You may, at some point, experience a negotiation when nothing is getting accomplished. While it’s frustrating, there are ways to work through it. 

For starters, before a negotiation begins, know where your “hard line” is. A hard line is when you’re not willing to compromise, such as on a proposed budget. 

If there is some wiggle room, a soft line can work. In this type of situation, take a breather by walking away. Sometimes it's best to resume the negotiations later. 

Taking a break can show the other group that they can’t take advantage of you. And, hopefully, the rest of the negotiations will go better. Practice being confident and assertive. If you focus on these skills, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth negotiation and won’t have to walk away.

If the negotiation doesn’t work out, you’ll feel content knowing you did everything possible.

In summary

Learning to negotiate takes practice. Don’t expect yourself to become a pro overnight. After all, even the best negotiators need time to hone their skills. 

It’s important to stay focused on effectively communicating with everyone in the group.

Even if success doesn’t come your way every time, there’s much to learn. You'll be communicating with different types of people and gaining insight from that.  As you negotiate, focus on the value of effective communication. Maintaining this positive way of thinking is bound to pay off.

Sherry Haney serves as Legacy's Business Manager at Trivista where she is responsible for overseeing the operations and efficiencies of the company's property management, sales, marketing, and renovation activities. Haney is active with the Denver Metro Apartment Association, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Denver Partnership.

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