Negotiation skills, like the ability to sell, must be mastered by all successful professionals. In all spheres of live, we are constantly negotiating with or selling to others (whether it is with our spouse, children, co-workers, bosses, clients etc). A lot has been written about negotiation skills in recent times, but I find the following three the most useful:
1. Understand the goal of negotiation
The appropriate outcome for any negotiation is to arrive at win-win terms for all parties involved. Often, so called shrewd businessmen have been known to want to “squeeze” the other party for a better deal even to their detriment. This is bad business practice. Your goal must always be to understand what you want and what the other party is looking for in the negotiation and focus on working towards that.
2. Always determine what you can walk away from
Understanding your desired outcome from any negotiation helps you determine what terms you absolutely cannot live with. Be absolutely clear about this and do not compromise as you may regret it in the future. Staying focused on your desired outcome (and not how much the other person is getting away with) helps steer the discussion to the desirable conclusion.
3. Honor your word
Do not shift the goal post. Once you have declared your desired outcomes, accept it without going back on your word. Also be careful not to make baseless demands post negotiation after being offered your desired terms. This could mar your reputation as being unethical, inconsistent and untrustworthy.