A negotiation is not a win or lose situation. The goal is for both parties to walk away satisfied with the solution and to feel like the discussion and outcome was fair and reasonable. Use these techniques in your next negotiation to reach this result.
Do your homework
As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Research into the other party beforehand and have a good understanding of their priorities and pain points. Put yourself in their shoes and detail what their ideal outcome is and what it would take for you to reach this.
Put your listening ears on
This might sound like an easy one, but how often do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to say next, while someone else is talking? Stay present in the discussion and summarise what the other party has said to make sure that you are both on the same table. Take it a step further and comment on any emotions that are coming through. Is the other party frustrated? Acknowledge that you can hear this and are aware of the emotional nature of the negotiation.
Ask open-ended questions
‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers won’t take the negotiation anywhere. Ask questions that require thought and commentary and will provide valuable information to assist in reaching an agreement. For example, ‘what do you think about feature X in proposal Y’ will give you more to work with than ‘do you like proposal Y’.
Compromise on the little things
Prior to the negotiation, you should have a list of items that you are prepared to negotiate on, a list of items that you can negotiate on if needs be and a list that are your deal breakers which you won’t touch. This will help in making the negotiations far more efficient as you will have pre-defined boundaries and will know which items to trade on your first two lists to keep those on your third list.
Though small talk can be tedious, you are more likely to reach a mutually beneficial and agreeable solution if you work collaboratively with each other. Spending a few minutes at the start of a negotiation to develop mutual connections like hobbies, interests and family will go a long way in helping seal the deal.