5 Tips to Master the Skill of Business Negotiation

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Business Negotiation is a skill that will come handy in every walk of life. From garnering better job offers to getting your house at a bargain price, this art, if practiced well, can help you make the most out of any situation. Though, this is a key life skill, we are never taught this skill at home or at school. It is something you tend to learn on the go by winning and losing arguments. Fortunately, there are many avenues you can now learn from. Here are a few tips on negotiation tactics to get you started:

1. Plan Business Negotiation Extensively

The good negotiation tactics start with extensive planning. Take time to understand the issues and look beyond the surface on why the problem has reached the table. Often people fight for money. But the underlying issue can be of security or power. Do a SWOT analysis of your situation (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) to generate options that can help you to emerge on top. Know who you are up against – their strengths, weaknesses and precedents on how they have negotiated before.

2. Know Your Goals and Bottom Lines

The opening points and starting arguments of your negotiation can set the pace of things to come. Decide in advance on the points that are non-negotiable and the ones you can let go. This often involves meeting midway and compromising on some points. Sometimes, you have to lose a battle to win the war. So, always keep an eye on your bottom line and long term benefits. Set you goals in advance on how and when you want to use walking away as a tactic

3. Attitude is Everything

It’s not just what you say but how you say it. You may have a winning point in your satchel, but if you don’t use the effective communication skills, then you may not be able to convince your opponent about it. For example, instead of saying “I think we can work on this” you can say “This is a great point and I’m sure we can work it out”. Don’t slouch or use your hands too much. Stand or sit confidently without playing with your pen, hair or other objects.

4. Be Fair

Access the situation fairly. You may have some points going for you while your opponent may have his leverages. Break you problem into issues and think of how your opponent would want the solution to pan out. Is there a way you can let your opponent believe that he is getting what he wants without fully giving in? Always be clear on the fine print in any business negotiation. While the main point may seem to work in your favor, the fine print may add clauses that could be a downer.

5. Always have Plan B (and C)

Though you may be thoroughly prepared, a new development or circumstance may force you to re-evaluate your situation. The key in such situations is patience. Don’t immediately react to an unfavorable situations. Think through your Plan B and Plan C approach to improvise. Be consistent in your presentation and diligent on the little facts that may get ignored.

A business negotiation generally plays out in pre-defined steps – planning, presenting, influencing and closing. Plan, practice, think fast, speak slowly and tread on your toes, that is all there is to it.

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