In nearly every aspect of our lives, we find a need to effectively utilize negotiating skills in order to perform to our potential. Negotiations is a useful and needed skill in our personal lives, in our business activities, and in nearly every one of our day to day activities. There are seven basic keys to become a competent and effective negotiator, which include: 1. Doing our homework; 2. Effective listening; 3. Clearly communicate what’s needed; 4. Be as specific as possible; 5. Include as much as possible in the contract/ agreement; 6. Build in contingency clauses; and 7. Exhibiting absolute integrity.
1. Homework refers to understanding the needs and positions, not only from your perspective, but from your adversary’s perspective, as well. This process creates an understanding of what can and cannot be asked for, and why. It requires both a willingness as well as the ability to do the work and put in the effort that is required in advance.
2. Unless someone is willing to effectively listen, rather than simply speak at someone, he cannot effectively negotiate. When we negotiate, the goal must be achieving a deal that creates a win- win scenario, because all long lasting deals come to fruition only when both sides are satisfied with the results. Negotiating is never about trying to defeat an opponent!
3. Next, there is a need to clearly articulate and communicate what is needed, and why, so that there are no surprises, misconceptions, or inaccuracies. How can anyone possibly negotiate properly if both sides are not on the same side? This must include a thorough understanding of priorities, etc.
4. Effective negotiations require specificity. There is no use or purpose being vague during this process, because unless it is clear what you want to happen and need, you can never come to a meeting of the minds. When both sides understand each other, they can much better work together to come to a mutual,y acceptable agreement.
5. The result of the negotiations must be coming up with a contract agreement that is as inclusive as possible, including as much specificity and detail as possible. There is always the best chance of a fair deal before a contract is signed because both sides are then on equal footing, while after the contract is signed, one side might have an upper hand.
6. The basic rule of any deal made is that at some point, things happen. We can never foresee all possibilities, but it is wise to include as many contingency clauses as can be foreseen, in that initial and binding agreement. Professional negotiators always have back up plans!
7. When all is said and done, the main quality remains a commitment to the principles and ideals of absolute integrity. Without integrity, negotiations will invariably fail in the long run.
Successful negotiations must be based on mutual respect and understanding. When this is the approach, there is always significantly more cooperation between the parties, and thus a better end result. These principles and keys are needed, whether the negotiations are event related, labor contracts, business dealings, or intra- family arrangements, etc.