It's likely that during your life you will have to demonstrate negotiation skills at some point, for example buying or selling a house or car or landing deals in your job. Negotiating is a way of coming to an acceptable compromise between two parties, and can be an intimidating task to undertake. Reaching an agreement is not always easy, and to optimise your chances of success you should follow a set of procedures and strategies.
Do your research
Knowing the basic facts of with whom, what and why you are negotiating is key. If you attended a meeting without having properly and thoroughly researched the surrounding terms, conditions and dependencies, you will look underprepared and the other party will be more likely to undermine you in the argument. It also means that you will not have the opportunity to spot flaws in the other negotiator's thinking, as you won't have the ammunition to counter-argue their points.
Do not waffle
When negotiating you will need to put across your concerns and potential solutions, and will need to express sufficient details within the context of the negotiation. But this is not to say that you should talk for hours on end about your side of things. In fact, it could be said that the one who talks less will often win the negotiation. Ensure you plan out what you want to say so you don't end up talking unnecessarily and going off topic.
Consider all offers
Often, the first offer or proposal is automatically overlooked and dismissed based on the assumption that there will be a better proposition coming. However this is not always the case, so it's important to consider all offers. In negotiations, the first compromise acts as a starting ground and allows you to begin the negotiation process. Therefore, be prepared and go in with the right attitude, be open to all offers, and evaluate the situation wholly before making up your mind and deciding what will benefit you the most.
Disclose all facts
One of the worst things you can do in a negotiation is withhold information, as it's considered unethical. It undermines the very concept of a negotiation, which is to share information and develop trust between individuals. Of course, when negotiating, you will want to make your end of the bargain look as appealing as possible so that the other party will be more likely to accept it, but to lie would be an outright breach of the practice of negotiation. Misrepresenting the facts is also likely to backfire on you in a number of ways - not limited to losing a deal, or ruining a working relationship.
Use power to your advantage
In any negotiation, there will be a balance of power, which is an idea that will be taught to you if undertaking negotiation training. With the right training, an individual has the ability to develop expert knowledge and influence in a particular area, which can be fundamental to certain types of negotiation and a highly valued skill. Often, expert knowledge and influence is seen as more significant and influential than holding a top position in a job. In international negotiations, governments have realised the importance of sending professional negotiators or individuals with special qualities to negotiate on their behalf.
Get the right training
One leading provider of negotiation training is The Gap Partnership, operating since 1997, and specialising in consultancy and training. All of their negotiation courses are designed to provide intense experiential training to meet the comprehensive requirements within the business industry, including programmes for multi-issue arguments, how to take power in a negotiation, and the essential skills of negotiation, as well as others.