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The Art of Effective Negotiations

To many, the art of negotiation is a complicated and daunting process. But as intimidating as it may seem, the ability to effectively negotiate is a critical skill to have both personally and professionally. Shying away from the process can have a number of consequences and can result in missed opportunities - especially on the job. It is important to keep in mind that successful negotiations are not confrontations but rather a savvy process that persuades another to see things your way.

There is a method to successfully negotiating and there is a great emphasis on detailed planning and effective communications. The following are some tried and true steps that will allow you come out on top in any negotiation.

Establish your own bottom line. What is the exact goal you want to achieve? Having a specific goal - and keeping you "eye on the prize" will allow you to stay focused on the outcome you want.

Do your homework and come prepared. Whether you are negotiating a salary increase or purchasing a car, the more information you have, that better equipped you will be at persuading others to see your perspective. Play close attention to current trends and know the related economic climate - especially within the organization.

Be personable.  This is probably one of the most important factors in effective communications. How you relate to others will have a direct effect on how they interact with you. Be authentic in your associations. Positivity and sincerity will get you a long way.

Emphasize what you both have in common.  Be sure to emphasize the win-win of what you are proposing. Explain what you will both get out of the venture. Also, share the consequences of what will result if a consensus is not made.

Know the key players and influencers. It is one thing to have a great idea and everyone onboard and still another to get your proposal approved. Know who the decision makers are and their agendas. Let them know how your idea will be of benefit to them and create a win/win for everyone involved.

Build reputation and trust. While having the confidence to ask for things can be a plus, effective negotiations require actual buy-in. When others perceive you as trustworthy and true to your ideals, they will be willing to form an alliance with you.

Listen to those around you. The best way to gather information and differing perspectives is to listen and observe. Listening also yields valuable feedback. By asking open ended questions you will better understand motives and the goals of the people you are negotiating with.

Be willing to accept another point of view and make a concession.  It is important to respect the way others view things and to understand why they feel the way they do. It is also okay to agree to a concession - as long as it does not compromise what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes offering a small concession is enough to achieve your goal and create a win-win for both parties.

Practice patience and keep emotions neutral.  It is very easy to get agitated when things do not seem to be moving in the direction you had wanted or anticipated. A cool head and neutral body language can work wonders in diffusing an escalating conversation.

Show gratitude.  As with all ventures in life, it is important to be grateful. Whatever the outcome, make it a point to voice your appreciation for another's time and consideration.

This article was published in The Training Connection, Inc.'s February 2015 Newsletter.

© 2015, The Training Connection, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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