How to ace any negotiation Whether you are trying to reach an agreement on a major deal, bargaining to get a raise, or simply trying to get your co-worker to see reason, negotiating is a daily part of working life. Here’s how to hone your skills.
when it came to negotiations, the American oil billionaire Jean Paul Getty followed the advice of his father: “Never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.”
Accordingly, successful negotiations should be less tug of war, more give and take.
A sustainable deal can never be a zerosum game, and coming to the table with only one desired outcome is ill-advised. Instead, the key to successful negotiations is devising a number of creative solutions that can benefit both parties.
This starts by being clear about what you want to achieve, and then crafting different terms that would be acceptable to both yourself and the counterparty.
Here’s how to get to the ideal deal:
You need to have all the facts and figures about the situation before you start to negotiate. As importantly, you need to understand the motivations of the counterparty. What are their interests and what do they want to achieve? Considering the situation from the other side’s perspective will be crucial in achieving an agreement. However, don’t overempathise. There’s a difference between
their point and their pain, which may cloud your perspective. This is called the empathy trap – the counterparty may inadvertently (or advertently) guilt you into a deal you don’t want.
Lose the fear
When the stakes are high, apprehension and anxiety about not achieving your goal can be debilitating, or make you overly aggressive in negotiations. Make sure you are calm, well-prepared and have back-up plans and counter-offers. Also, don’t take any criticism or rejection personally.
Never negotiate via email
Messages can easily be misconstrued.
Present multiple equivalent simultaneous offers
Multiple equivalent simultaneous offers (MESO) is a negotiation strategy that involves coming up with at least three different options that are all at equal cost to yourself. All of these options are then offered to the counterparty as part of the negotiations. Research from two US academics shows that this strategy yields results: negotiations that involve MESO have a higher deal rate, and the party who presents the different options is seen as flexible and accommodative. The only downside is that this strategy requires much more preparatory work.
negotiations is devising a number of creative solutions
Pick up on every point and make sure you understand all the issues by asking questions. Repeat the statements the counterparty makes back to them, confirming to them that you recognise and appreciate their concerns. Also, listen to how the counterparty speaks. Match their speed of talking. If they favour a measured approach, don’t overload them with loads of facts and fast talking.
Never use round numbers